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Two suction rolls at the first press section of a 25 ft. wide paper machine developed cracks within two years of service. The rolls were austenitic stainless steel castings made of ASTM A 351 Grade CF8M alloy containing molybdenum. The rolls were exposed to slightly acidic white water (pH approximately 4.7) containing chlorides (45 ppm). Visual and liquid penetrant inspections of the rolls revealed extensive cracking at the roll inside surface. The cracks penetrated more than 30 percent of the wall thickness and a few cracks were several inches long. The cracks were preferentially oriented along the roll length and primarily at the roll inside surface. Field metallographic examination showed significant grain boundary chromium-carbide precipitation and intergranular corrosion. The roll failures were attributed to chromium depletion along the grain boundaries (sensitization) resulting from slow cooling of the casting to avoid large residual stresses. The roll manufacturer recommended a proprietary ferritic/austenitic stainless steel as the replacement material for the rolls.

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