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A storage tank had been in service at a petrochemical plant for 13 years when inspectors discovered cracks adjacent to weld joints and in the base plate near the foundation. The tank was made from AISI 304 stainless steel and held styrene monomer, a derivative of benzene. The cracks were subsequently welded over with 308 stainless steel filler wire and the base plate was replaced with new material. Soon after, the tank began leaking along the weld bead, triggering a full-scale investigation; spectroscopy, optical and scanning electron microscopy, fractography, SEM-EDS analysis, and microhardness, tensile, and impact testing. The results...

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