A crack was observed on an outlet elbow of the pre-converter in coal gasification unit during operation. This paper details the investigation into the failure and highlights the most probable cause of failure based on available documents and experimental analysis. Visual examination, chemical components analysis, energy spectrum analysis, fracture analysis, metallurgical analysis, mechanical properties test and residual stress measurement were performed. The experimental results show that the primary crack initiated from inside and propagated to outer surface of the elbow. The content of titanium element was lower than the requirement in GB/T 14976-2002. Corrosion products were rich in O and S elements. Amounts of secondary cracks and strain induced martensite were observed. Furthermore, the residual stress on the inner surface near the crack tip was extremely high. According to the experiment results and the analysis of operating condition and history, the failure mechanism of the elbow is stress corrosion cracking. Sensitization of the stainless steel due to low Ti content and the faulty heat treatment contributed to the intergranular stress corrosion cracking.

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