Explosion in Section of a 10 in. Steam Main Due to Internal Laminar Defects
An explosion occurred in a portion of a horizontal, U-shaped expansion loop in a steam main approximately 10-in. diam which had been operating at 400 psi for six years. Steam conditions varied from 538 deg C (450 deg F) saturated to 343 deg C (650 deg F) superheated. Fracture occurred longitudinally through the upper wall over a length of approximately 68 in. The sample received for examination was ultrasonically tested, which indicated a band of internal defects extending 1 in. in from the edge. Subsequently, the portion of the pipe embodying the other side of the rupture was obtained for examination. Transverse sections through this and the mating portion already received, followed by magnetic crack detection, revealed the presence of defective zones. Subsequent ultrasonic examination of other sections of the steam main indicated suspect areas in a number of lengths of pipe. These defects were basically laminations of a similar form to those which resulted in the failure of the portion of pipe.