Brittle Fracture of a Soybean-Oil Storage Tank Caused by High Service Stresses
A riveted 0.25% carbon steel oil-storage tank in Oklahoma was dismantled and reassembled in Minnesota by welding to form a storage tank for soybean oil. An opening was cut in the side of the tank to admit a front-end loader. A frame of heavy angle iron was welded to the tank and drilled for bolting on a heavy steel plate. The tank was filled to a record height. In mid-Jan the temperature dropped to -31 deg C (-23 deg F), with high winds. The tank split open and collapsed. The welding used the shielded metal arc process with E6010 electrodes, which could lead to weld porosity, hydrogen embrittlement, or both. At subzero temperatures, the steel was below its ductile-to-brittle transition temperature. These circumstances suggest a brittle condition. Steps to avoid this type of failure: For cold conditions, the steel plate should have a low carbon content and a high manganese-to-sulfur ratio and be in a normalized condition, low-hydrogen electrodes and welding practices should be used, all corners should be generously radiused, the welds should be inspected and ground or dressed to minimize stress concentrations, postweld heating is advisable, and radiographic and penetrant inspection tests should be performed.
Brittle Fracture of a Soybean-Oil Storage Tank Caused by High Service Stresses, ASM Failure Analysis Case Histories: Construction, Mining, and Agricultural Equipment, ASM International, 2019, https://doi.org/10.31399/asm.fach.conag.c0047508
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