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A Ti-6Al-4V alloy pressure vessel failed during a proof-pressure test, fracturing along the center girth weld. The girth joints were welded with the automatic gas tungsten arc process utilizing an auxiliary trailing shield attached to the welding torch to provide inert-gas shielding for the exterior surface of the weld. A segmented backup ring with a gas channel was used inside the vessel to shield the weld root. The pressure vessel failed due to contamination of the fusion zone by oxygen, which resulted when the gas shielding the root face of the weld was diluted by air that leaked into...

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