Three radiant heating element tubes from an aluminum holding furnace failed after a few months of service. One side of each of the tubes had disintegrated, leaving large holes and thinned cross sections. Microstructural analysis showed that the surface of the tube had been oxidized along the grain boundaries and had extensive precipitation inside the grains. Chemical analysis indicated that the steel used for the tubes was AISI type 316 stainless steel Specifications for the tubes had called for AISI type 310S to be used. It was recommended that other tubes made from the same batch of steel sheet be checked.