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Abstract

When a large LPG low-carbon steel storage tank was put into service for the first time and filled beyond the proof testing level, a brittle fracture crack initiated at a fillet weld between a stiffener ring and the wall. The crack propagated to a length of 5.5 m and arrested. Analysis showed that the plates satisfied the criteria of BS 4741. It was concluded that the cause of crack initiation was the lack of a mouse hole at the junction between the stiffening ring and the wall of the tank. The tank was repaired and put back in service. When it was filled beyond the proof test level, again a brittle crack was initiated at a horizontal weld defect and propagated vertically, destroying the tank and the liquefaction plant. The initiation site was a thumbnail elliptical crack in a horizontal weld, having a depth of 1.5 mm, and a length of 4.5 mm. This showed that as late the mid-1970s, misunderstanding of brittle fracture led to the wrong design and construction of an LPG storage tank. The best design specification is to use a correlation between LAST, the Lowest Anticipated Service Temperature, and the DBTT measured by either Charpy tests or DTT.

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M. Lam, 2019. "Failure of a Steel Liquid Petroleum Gas Storage Tank", ASM Failure Analysis Case Histories: Oil and Gas Production Equipment

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