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Cracking occurred in type 304L stainless steel sheaths on nichrome wire heaters that had been in storage for about 5 years in a coastal atmosphere. The cracks were discovered when the heater coils were removed from storage in their original polyethylene packing materials and straightened for use. Fractography established that fracture occurred by stress-corrosion cracking. The cracks originated at rusted areas on the cladding that occurred under iron particles left on the surface during manufacture. High hardness values indicated that solution annealing following cold working had not been carried out as specified. It was recommended that the sheathing material be fully annealed and that the outer surface be pickled and passivated.

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P. Muraleedharan, H.S. Khatak, J.B. Gnanamoorthy, Stress-Corrosion Cracking in Stainless Steel Heater Sheathing, Handbook of Case Histories in Failure Analysis, Vol 2, Edited By Khlefa A. Esaklul, ASM International, 1993, p 427–429,

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