Stress Corrosion Cracking of CO2 Absorber Vessel
Following the discovery numerous cracks at many of the welded seams of a mild steel CO2 absorber vessel, a sample for examination was removed from the worst affected area where repairs had been effected. A 12 in. long circumferential crack was visible. Specimens were taken to cover the several locations of cracking which, in all cases, were found to be similar and of the intergranular type filled with oxide or corrosion product. The association of the cracks with the weld seams indicated that contraction stresses from welding were primarily responsible. Failure of the absorber vessel was found to be due to stress corrosion. Although the active agent present was not positively identified, the aqueous solution of monoethanolamine was thought to be the most probable. The origin of the stresses was not elucidated but the association of the cracks with the welded seams indicated inherent residual stresses as being primarily responsible. Tests carried out tend to suggest that stress relief was not carried out. For the replacement plant, consideration of stress relieving or the use of an alternative material was advised.