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A portion of the wall of a reactor vessel used in burning impurities from carbon particles failed by localized melting. The vessel was made of Hastelloy X (Ni-22Cr-9Mo-18Fe). Considering the service environment, melting could have been caused either by excessive carburization (which would have lowered the melting point of the alloy markedly) or by overheating. A small specimen containing melted and unmelted metal was removed from the vessel wall and examined metallographically. It was observed that the interface between the melted zone and the unaffected base metal was composed of large grains and enlarged grain boundaries. An area a...

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