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A type 316 stainless steel pipe reducer section failed in service of bleached pulp stock transfer within 2 years in a pulp and paper mill. The reducer section fractured in the heat-affected zone of the flange-to-pipe weld on the flange side. The pipe reducer section consisted of 250 and 200 mm (10 and 8 in.) diam flanges welded to a tapered pipe section. The tapered pipe section was 3.3 mm (0.13 in.) thick type 316 stainless steel sheet, and the flanges were 5 mm (0.2 in.) thick CF8M (type 316) stainless steel castings. Visual and metallographic analysis indicated that the fracture was caused by intergranular corrosion/stress-corrosion cracks that initiated from the external surface of the pipe reducer section. Contributory factors were the sensitized condition of the flange and the concentration of corrosive elements from the bleach stock plant environment on the external surface. In the absence of the sensitized condition of the flange, the service of the pipe reducer section was acceptable. A type 316L stainless steel reducer section was recommended to replace the 316 component because of its superior resistance to sensitization.

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Durgam G. Chakrapani, Intergranular Corrosion/Cracking of a Stainless Steel Pipe Reducer Section in Bleached Pulp Stock Service, Handbook of Case Histories in Failure Analysis, Vol 1, Edited By Khlefa A. Esaklul, ASM International, 1992, p 164–167,

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