Heavy-wall austenitic stainless steel and nickel alloy piping components can sometimes suffer cracking during fabrication. Cracking occurs in the materials during fabrication as a result of solidification cracking during welding and reheat cracking (also referred to as stress relaxation cracking or stress relief cracking) during postweld heat treatment (PWHT) such as solution heat treatment or stabilizing heat treatment. This paper describes several case studies of recent cracking in welds of heavy-wall piping components fabricated from Type 321 stainless steel and Alloy 800HT that have occurred during fabrication. The severe cracking occurred in weld metal in each of the heavy-wall components. As a result of investigations, it was concluded that most likely cause for the cracking was a result of reheat cracking occurring during PWHT.

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