Failure of Radiant Tubes in a Batch-Carburizing Furnace
Three radiant tubes, made of three different high-temperature alloys, were removed from a carburizing furnace after approximately eight months of service when they showed evidence of failure by collapsing (telescoping) in a region 30 cm (12 in.) from the tube bottoms in the vicinity of the burners. The tubes had an original wall thickness of 3.0 mm (0.120 in.) and were made of three different alloys: the first was Hastelloy X; the second alloy was RA 333, a wrought nickel-base heat-resistant alloy; and the third was experimental alloy 634, which contained 72% Ni, 4% Cr, and 3.5% Si. The three radiant tubes had been operated at a temperature of about 1040 deg C (1900 deg F) to maintain furnace temperatures of 900 to 925 deg C (1650 to 1700 deg F). Analysis (visual inspection and micrographic examination) supported the conclusion that all three tubes failed by corrosion. Recommendations included replacing the material with an alloy, such as RA 333, with a higher chromium content and with an additional element, like silicon, resistant to carburization-oxidation.