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During a planned shut-down in 1990 it appeared that the bottom manifold parts made of wrought Incoloy 800H had undergone diametrical expansion of up to 2% due to creep. Further, cracking at the outer diam was found. It was decided to replace these parts. Microscopical investigations showed that the cracking could not be caused by creep. It was found that the cracking was confined to a 4-mm deep coarse-grained zone (ASTM 0-1) at the outer diameter. The cracking appeared to be caused by strain-induced intergranular oxidation. When the cracks reached the fine-grained material, the oxidation-cracks stopped. To determine the residual creep life of the sound (non-cracked) bottom manifold material, iso-stress creep tests were performed. It was found that tertiary creep started at 7% strain. The time-to-rupture was greater than 100,000 h. It was concluded that the bottom manifold (and thus the furnace) could be used safely during the foreseen production period.

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