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Cracking

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Cracking is the the physical response in a material or piece of equipment to excessive exposure to damaging conditions. Cracking is usually caused by stress, although it can be exacerbated by other factors. It should go without saying, that you do not want cracking in your equipment.

There are several different types of cracking that affect fixed equipment in the processing industries. These include, but are not limited to:

These and other damage mechanisms are covered in greater detail in API RP 571 - Damage Mechanisms Affecting Fixed Equipment in the Refining Industry.

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Articles about Cracking
January/February 2021 Inspectioneering Journal

The first two parts of this series covered the basics of fracture mechanics and how the FAD is interpreted. This article touches on a few practical points regarding the application of fracture mechanics in a plant environment.

Authors: Greg Garic
November/December 2020 Inspectioneering Journal

Every fitness-for-service (FFS) assessment must have a well-defined acceptance criterion. For many damage mechanisms, it’s the “remaining strength factor” (RSF). But for crack-like flaw assessment, it’s the Failure Assessment Diagram, or FAD.

Authors: Greg Garic
September/October 2020 Inspectioneering Journal

Fracture mechanics is a branch of engineering that describes the behavior of cracks – how they grow and when they fracture. Fracture of cracks is particularly dangerous because it can happen without warning under normal operating conditions.

Authors: Greg Garic
January/February 2019 Inspectioneering Journal

Welding imperfections vary in impact from being acceptable to requiring repair. It is important to ensure the quality of welds using NDT and to ensure the strength of the entire piping system with hydrotesting.

Authors: Qasem Fandem
May/June 2018 Inspectioneering Journal

There is concern in the industry over recent findings of reduced toughness fittings and flanges at risk of brittle fracture. This article provides an overview; possible contributors; measures taken to address; and a proposed FFS approach to address...

Partner Content

AET is a powerful, non-intrusive inspection technique to verify the structural integrity of pressure vessels, spheres, high-temperature reactors and piping, coke drums, above-ground storage tanks, cryogenic storage tanks, and more.

May/June 2018 Inspectioneering Journal

HTHA of hydrogen-containing equipment can be prevented with appropriate material selection and fabrication, appropriate welding procedures, regular inspection of equipment using proven, effective technologies and equipment operated by qualified...

Authors: Samer E. Ibrahim
January/February 2016 Inspectioneering Journal

The enormous decline in oil prices over the past 14 months has definitely slowed projects and changed the energy and production landscape. Despite this, refineries, petrochemical plants, and chemical facilities must continue to run safely,...

Authors: Greg Alvarado
Blog

This post is based on an article from the September/October 2008 issue of Inspectioneering Journal by Richard Green at Accurate Metallurgical Services. You can find the original article here.

November/December 2013 Inspectioneering Journal

Inspectioneering recently had the privilege of speaking with Tom Wanzeck, Vice President of Integrity Services with Willbros Group, Inc. Tom spent more than 20 years managing assets on the owner-operator side before making the leap to the service...

Authors: Tyler Alvarado
January/February 2013 Inspectioneering Journal

In this article you will find the failure investigations of six 0.094 inch thick carbon steel vessels. These vessels were in service in natural gas well facilities; some functioned as dryers and were subjected to cyclic loads. Metallographic tests,...

Authors: Ana Benz
Partner Content

Auto-refrigeration can impose low temperatures onto process vessels and piping causing them to be at risk of brittle fracture, the sudden break-before leak phenomena that can result in catastrophic rupture of the equipment.

September/October 2005 Inspectioneering Journal

Titanium (Ti) hydriding is another somewhat unusual metallurgical degradation phenomena that can result in brittle fracture. Unlike many other steel embrittlement phenomena, this one most often occurs in thin wall Ti tubes that have been selected...

Authors: John Reynolds
September/October 2005 Inspectioneering Journal

Metals will slowly deform under stress and higher temperatures by the mechanism known as creep. The amount of creep deformation that will be experienced is highly dependent upon the level of stress, level of temperature and material properties....

Authors: John Reynolds
July/August 2005 Inspectioneering Journal

Aging phenolic resin reactors built in the 1960's were constructed of SA304 stainless steel, many of which were originally fabricated to ASME Section VIII standards were never registered as such nor with the National Board. Some of these reactors...

Authors: Mark Bagnell
January/February 2005 Inspectioneering Journal

Polythionic Acid Stress Corrosion Cracking (PASCC) is an affliction of many refineries processing sulfur containing feedstocks, and since that is the norm these days, most refiners reduce their susceptibility to PASCC by selecting resistant alloys...

Authors: John Reynolds
January/February 2005 Inspectioneering Journal

Hydrogen stress cracking occurs when corrosion from acids like wet hydrogen sulfide or hydrofluoric acid (HF) cause atomic hydrogen to penetrate hardened or higher strength steels and cause stress cracking.

Authors: John Reynolds
Partner Content

It’s a scary thought to think that with all the new advancements in technology, some facilities still rely on traditional inspection contractors that perform out of date procedures. You rely on technology to keep your home and identity safe, so...

January/February 2005 Inspectioneering Journal

Amine cracking is a form of stress corrosion cracking, which is related to alkaline and carbonate stress corrosion cracking. Amine cracking is often intertwined with wet H2S and carbonate cracking, as amines, carbonates and wet sulfides often exist...

Authors: John Reynolds
May/June 2004 Inspectioneering Journal

Chloride cracking of austenitic stainless steels (300 series SS) is an off-shoot of CUI, and there’s nothing really magical about it. If you have insulated solid stainless steel equipment operating in the CUI temperature range you are likely to...

Authors: John Reynolds
January/February 2004 Inspectioneering Journal

DMW cracking is another fabrication issue that can and does result in equipment failure. It usually occurs at the weld juncture where carbon steel or low alloy steels are welded to austenitic (300 series) stainless steels in high temperature...

January/February 2004 Inspectioneering Journal

Cracks along the toe of a weld are not uncommon during fabrication, and can occur for a wide variety of reasons involving the metallurgy and process control of the the same issues covered above on repair welds can apply to repair welds on...

Authors: John Reynolds
November/December 2003 Inspectioneering Journal

There are a variety of forms of wet H2S cracking. In this short article I will focus on two of the most common forms: hydrogen induced cracking and stress-oriented hydrogen induced cracking (HIC/ SOHIC). HIC is often fairly innocuous (but not...

Authors: John Reynolds
Partner Content

Pro-Surve recently invested in the latest portable Higher Order Modes Clusters (HOMC) Guided Wave Testing tool, a new concept for the inspection of inaccessible regions using short-range guided waves. Inspection is carried out from the accessible...

November/December 2003 Inspectioneering Journal

Carbonate cracking (CC) of carbon steel has seen an increase recently in frequency and severity in some refinery cat crackers, especially in fractionator and gas processing overheads. Some gas scrubbing units are also susceptible. CC is a form of...

Authors: John Reynolds
November/December 2003 Inspectioneering Journal

Ammonia stress corrosion cracking (SCC) has been around a long time. Most everyone has experienced it from time to time. It's not uncommon in brass tubes in cooling water service that is contaminated with ammonia due to biological growths or other...

Authors: John Reynolds
November/December 2003 Inspectioneering Journal

Chloride stress corrosion cracking (SCC) is about as well known as any SCC mechanism can be, so I won't dwell much on it here, but want to mention it for the sake of completeness and hopefully mention something that is not as commonly known about...

Authors: John Reynolds
July/August 2003 Inspectioneering Journal

Few of us have not experienced or heard about vibration fatigue (cracking) failures, especially around pumps and compressors. Typically small branch connections, equalizer lines, vents and drains are susceptible, especially if they are screwed...

Authors: John Reynolds
September/October 2001 Inspectioneering Journal

Hydrogen-induced cracking is a damage mechanism commonly observed in the petroleum refining industry [1, 2]. The damage appears as laminar cracks and blisters, which can link up in the through-wall direction to form stepwise cracking.

Authors: W. David Wang
May/June 2000 Inspectioneering Journal

This is the first of a series of articles that outlines the 101 essential elements that need to be in place, and functioning well, to preserve and protect the reliability and integrity of pressure equipment (vessels, exchangers, furnaces, boilers,...

Authors: John Reynolds
November/December 1996 Inspectioneering Journal

Petroleum coke production is an important source of revenue for many refineries. While coking units were initially constructed to deal with a waste product, these units are now of significant economic value.

September/October 1995 Inspectioneering Journal

A key to any piping evaluation program is to understand where problems can occur. Vibrating piping can propagate a crack relatively quickly. Have you ever installed gussets to stabilize a vibrating pipe situation only to find, shortly thereafter,...

Authors: Del Underwood
May/June 1995 Inspectioneering Journal

Exposure of carbon steel equipment to wet H2S service environments can lead to various forms of attack, e.g. hydrogen blistering and hydrogen induced cracking (HIC), stress oriented hydrogen induced cracking (SOHIC) and sulfide stress cracking...

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