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A spherical carbon steel fixed-catalyst bed reactor, fabricated from French steel A42C-3S, approximately equivalent to ASTM A201 grade B, failed after 20 years of service while in a standby condition. The unit was found to contain primarily hydrogen at the time of failure. The vessel had a type 304 stainless steel shroud around the catalyst bed as protection against the overheating that was possible if the gas bypassed the bed through the refractory material. The failure was observed to have begun at the toe of the shroud-support ring weld. The ring was found to have a number of small...

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