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A carbon steel (ASTM A515 grade 70) pressure vessel failed by brittle fracture while being hydro tested in the fabricating shop. The fracture origin was a small crack at a welding arc strike associated with the toe of a nozzle weld. A fracture mechanics calculation indicated that this imperfection, although small, initiated fracture because of the local geometry and stress conditions and the low toughness of the steel. It was recommended that (1) the probability of flaws be reduced by welding over or grinding out arc strikes, (2) the local stresses be lowered by post weld stress relief and improved weld toe geometry, and (3) toughness be improved by specifying fine-grain steel and/ or by normalizing.

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