Weld Decay and Stress-Corrosion Cracking in Austenitic Stainless Steel Vessels
Weld-decay and stress-corrosion cracking developed in several similar all-welded vessels fabricated from austenitic stainless steel. During a periodic examination cracks were revealed at the external surface of one of the vessels. External patch welds had been applied at these and several other corresponding locations. Cracks visible on the external surface developed from the inside in a region close to the toe of the internal fillet weld to the deflector plate, and another deep crack associated with a weld cavity is visible slightly to the right of the main fissure. Microscopic examination revealed that precipitation of carbides at the grain boundaries had taken place in the vicinity of the cracks, but that the paths of the cracks were not wholly intergranular. Conditions present in the vicinity of the internal fillet weld must have been such as to favor both inter- and transgranular cracking. It is probable that the heating associated with the repair welds made from time to time also contributed to the trouble. The transgranular cracks, however, were indicative of stress-corrosion cracking.