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Several type 304L stainless steel dished ends used in the fabrication of cylindrical vessels developed extensive cracking during storage. All of the dished ends had been procured from a single manufacturer and belonged to the same batch. When examined visually, several rust marks were observed, indicating contamination by rusted carbon steel particles. Liquid penetrant testing was used to determine the extent of the cracks, and in situ metallographic analysis was performed over the cracked region. The morphology of the cracks was indicative of transgranular stress-corrosion cracking (TGSCC). Conditions promoting the occurrence of the TGSCC included significant tensile stresses on the inside of the dished ends, the presence of surface contamination by iron due to poor handling practice using carbon steel implements, and storage in a coastal environment with an average temperature of 25 to 32 deg C (77 to 90 deg F), an average humidity ranging from 70 to 80%, and an atmospheric NaCl content ranging from 8 to 45 mg/m2 /day. Recommendations preventing further occurrence of the situation were strict avoidance of the use of carbon steel handling implements, strict avoidance of cleaning practices that cause long-term exposure to chlorine-containing cleaning fluid, and solution annealing of the dished ends at 1050 deg C (1920 deg F) for 1 h followed by water quenching to relieve residual stresses.

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