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Eddy current inspection was performed on a vertical evaporator unit (that contained 180 tubes) used in a chemical processing plant. It was advised that the tube material was type 316 stainless steel. The shell-side fluid was condensate and gaseous methylene chloride, while the tube-side fluid was contaminated liquid methylene chloride. More than 100 tubes exhibiting severe outer surface pitting and cracklike indications near each tube sheet were revealed during eddy current inspection. It was observed that the indications correlated with rust-stained, pitted, and cracked areas on the outer surfaces. The cracking was revealed by metallographic examination to have initiated from the outer surface, frequently at pits, and penetrated the tube wall in a transgranular, branching fashion. The crack features were characteristic of chloride stress-corrosion cracking. A change in tube material was recommended to avoid future failures and loss of service.

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