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Several compressor diaphragms from five gas turbines cracked after a short time in service. The vanes were constructed of type 403 stainless steel, and welding was performed using type 309L austenitic stainless steel filler metal. The fractures originated in the weld heat-affected zones of inner and outer shrouds. A complete metallurgical analysis was conducted to determine the cause of failure. It was concluded that the diaphragms had failed by fatigue. Analysis suggests that the welds contained high residual stresses and had not been properly stress relieved. Improper welding techniques may have also contributed to the failures. Use of proper welding techniques, including appropriate prewelding and postwelding heat treatments, was recommended.

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