A gas-fired, ASTM A-106 Grade B carbon steel vaporizer failed on three different occasions during attempts to bring the vaporizer on line. Dye penetrant examination indicated the presence of multiple packets of ductile cracks on the inside of the coil radius at the bottom of the horizontal axis coils. Visual examination of the inside of the tubing indicated the presence of a carbonaceous deposit resulting from decomposition of the heat-exchanging fluid. Subsequent metallographic examination and microhardness testing indicated that the steel was heated to a temperature above the allowable operating temperature for the fluid. The probable cause for failure is thermal fatigue due to the localized overheating. Flow conditions inside the tubing should be reexamined to ensure suitable conditions for annular fluid flow.
W.T. Becker, Thermal Fatigue Failure in a Vaporizer, Handbook of Case Histories in Failure Analysis, Vol 2, Edited By Khlefa A. Esaklul, ASM International, 1993, p 111–118, https://doi.org/10.31399/asm.fach.v02.c9001314
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