A carbon steel piping cross-tee assembly which conveyed hydrogen sulfide (H7S) process gas at 150 to 275 deg C (300 to 585 deg F) with a maximum allowable operating pressure of 3 MPa (450 psig) ruptured at the toe of one of the welds at the cross after several years of service. The failure was initially thought to be the result of thermal fatigue, and the internal surfaces exhibited the “elephant hide” pattern characteristic of thermal fatigue. However metallographic failure analysis found that this pattern was the result of corrosion rather than thermal fatigue. Corrosion caused failure at this location because the weld was abnormally thin as fabricated. Thus, failure resulted from inadequate deposition of weld metal and subsequent wall thinning from internal corrosion. It was recommended that the cross-tee be replaced with a like component, with more careful attention to weld quality.
Peter F. Ellis, II, Corrosion Failure of a Chemical Process Piping Cross-Tee Assembly, Handbook of Case Histories in Failure Analysis, Vol 2, Edited By Khlefa A. Esaklul, ASM International, 1993, p 156–159, https://doi.org/10.31399/asm.fach.v02.c9001325
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