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During 5.7 years of service, dye penetrant inspection of Inconel 800H pigtail connections regularly showed cracks at weld toes. Weld repairs were not able to prevent reoccurrence but often aggravated the condition. Samples containing small, but detectable, reducer-to-pigtail cracks showed intergranular cracks originating at weld toes and filled with oxidation product, which precluded determination of the cracking mechanism. All weldments exhibited high degrees of secondary precipitates, with original fabrication welds exhibiting higher apparent levels than repair welds. SEM/EDS analysis showed base metal grain boundary precipitates to be primarily chromium carbides, but some titanium carbides were also observed. Failure was believed to result from the synergism of thermally driven tube distortion, which resulted in over-stress, and from the intergranular oxidation products and intergranular carbides which contributed to cracking. It was recommended that stresses be reduced and /or that materials and components be changed. Refinements in welding procedures and implementation of preweld/postweld heat treatments were recommended also.

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Scott R. Gertler, Cracking of Inconel 800H in a Steam Methane Reformer Furnace, Handbook of Case Histories in Failure Analysis, Vol 2, Edited By Khlefa A. Esaklul, ASM International, 1993, p 168–171,

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