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Field metallography and replication were performed on a type 316 stainless steel column in diglycol amine vacuum service to determine the cause of visible OD pitting on the column in several areas above the insulation support rings. The examination revealed transgranular stress-corrosion cracking beneath the pitted areas on the OD. The likely cause of the cracking was chloride stress corrosion, with chlorides deriving from the marine atmosphere and concentrating under the insulation around the support rings. A complete insulation evaluation, including repair or replacement, was recommended to prevent chloride buildup. Painting of the steel surface with an epoxy-phenolic or epoxy-coal tar was also suggested.

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Gordon Aaker, Jr., Paul Agosta, Field Replication of Stress-Corrosion Cracking in a Type 316 Stainless Pressure Vessel, Handbook of Case Histories in Failure Analysis, Vol 1, Edited By Khlefa A. Esaklul, ASM International, 1992, p 161–163,

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