Failure of an Incoloy 800 Piping System
The outlet-piping system of a steam-reformer unit failed by extensive cracking at four weld locations. The welded system consisted of Incoloy 800 (Fe-32Ni-21Cr-0.05C) pipe and fittings. The exterior surfaces of the system were insulated with rock wool that did not contain weatherproofing. On-site visual examination and magnetic testing indicated severe external corrosion of most of the piping. The system showed extensive cracking in weld HAZ. One specimen indicated that corrosion extended to a depth of 3.2 mm and cracks were seen at the edge of the cover bead and in the HAZ of the weld. Metallographic examination showed that cracking was intergranular and that adjacent grain boundaries had undergone deep intergranular attack. Examination at higher magnification revealed heavy carbide precipitation, primarily at grain boundaries, indicating that the alloy had been sensitized, which resulted from heating during welding. Electron probe x-ray microanalysis showed the outside surface of the tube did not have the protective chromium oxide scale normally found on Incoloy 800. The inside surface of the tube had a thin chromium oxide protective scale. This evidence supported the conclusions that the deep oxidation greatly decreased the strength of the weld HAZ and cracking followed.