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A flanged 100 mm (4 in.) diam low-carbon steel spool piece lined with Teflon was removed from a sulfuric acid denitrification system after cracks were observed in the painted coating. Visual and microstructural examination along with SEM fractography revealed scaled iron oxides on all opened crack surfaces. The surfaces had a faceted morphology, indicating intergranular fracture. Cracks originated at the interface between the tube and the Teflon liner Corrosion products were found caked into the intergranular region between the liner and the spool. The portion of the liner that had been exposed to the process stream was discolored. Failure of the spool was attributed to stress-corrosion cracking promoted by the presence of nitrates. Nitric acid contaminant in the sulfuric acid stream had diffused through the liner and accumulated in the annular space. Use of a liner that is more impermeable to the diffusion of ionic species was recommended.

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