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Catastrophic pitting corrosion occurred in type 304L stainless steel pipe flange assemblies in an industrial food processor. During regular service the pumped medium was pureed vegetables. In situ maintenance procedures included cleaning of the assemblies with a sodium hypochlorite solution. It was determined that the assemblies failed due to an austenite-martensite galvanic couple activated by a chlorine bearing electrolyte. The martensitic areas resulted from a transformation during cold-forming operations. Solution annealing after forming, revision of the design of the pipe flange assemblies to eliminate the forming operation, and removal of the source of chlorine were recommended.

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Edward C. Lochanski, Galvanic Corrosion Failure of Austenitic Stainless Steel Pipe Flange Assemblies, Handbook of Case Histories in Failure Analysis, Vol 2, Edited By Khlefa A. Esaklul, ASM International, 1993, p 197–200,

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