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Several type 304L (UNS S30400) stainless steel seamless tubes in a high-pressure synthesis gas cooler condensing ammonia in a fertilizer plant leaked in an unexpectedly short time. Representative samples of the tubes were subjected to chemical analysis, hardness tests, and optical microscopy examination. The tests revealed that the tubes conformed to specification. Crack morphology indicated stress-corrosion cracking by chlorides present in the cooling water. Use of a duplex stainless steel (for example, UNS S32304 S31803) as a tube material was recommended.

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K.E. Perumal, Stress-Corrosion Cracking of Stainless Steel Heat Exchanger Tubes in a Fertilizer Plant, Handbook of Case Histories in Failure Analysis, Vol 1, Edited By Khlefa A. Esaklul, ASM International, 1992, p 126–127,

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