Fracture: Creep Fracture (Stress Rupture)
A carbon steel furnace tube which should have given good service for ten years ruptured after one year. The tube showed obvious swelling at the point of rupture, and the bulged surface of the tube was oxidized at a temperature far above the design temperature. There was little or no loss in wall thickness due to corrosion or scaling, and the tube wall was thinned to a knife edge at the rupture. Metallographic examination showed the condition of the material was satisfactory. The failure was mechanical in nature, typical of short time creep rupture. The localized oxidation indicated improper furnace operation or blockage of the tube. The furnace was checked and found to have a burner tip out of order. After the tip was repaired, localized overheating was minimized and further premature failures did not occur.