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Alloy UNS N08800 (Alloy 800) tubes of the steam superheating coils of two hydrocracker charge heaters in a refinery failed prematurely in service. Failure analysis of the tubes indicated that the failures could be attributed to thermal fatigue as a result of temperature fluctuations as well as restriction to movement. Fatigue cracks initiated intergranularly from both the flue gas and steam sides. Enhanced general and grain boundary oxidation coupled with age hardening of the alloy led to the formation of incipient intergranular cracks that acted as sites for the initiation of the fatigue cracks.

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