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During periodic inspection of the tubes of a reformer furnace, a soapy water leak test with the tubes pressurized with nitrogen was being carried out by site personnel in a manner contrary to the policy of the organization when one of the tubes suddenly disintegrated with explosive violence. The tube approximately 30 ft. long by 6 in. diam, was constructed of three spun cast sections butt welded together. The material specified for tubes for this service was basically a 25% chromium, 20% nickel, cast stainless steel containing 0.4% carbon to optimize creep resistance. Failure initiated in the region of...

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