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A detailed failure analysis was conducted on an ammonia refrigerant condenser tube component that failed catastrophically during its initial hours of operation. Evidence collected clearly demonstrated that the weld between a pipe and a dished end contained a sharp unfused region at its root (lack of penetration). Component failure had started from this weld defect. The hydrogen absorbed during welding facilitated crack initiation from this weld defect during storage of the component after welding. Poor weld toughness at the low operating temperature facilitated crack growth during startup, culminating in catastrophic failure as soon as the crack exceeded critical length.

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