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A crude distillation column tray, fabricated supposedly from Type 410 stainless steel, failed in an extremely brittle manner after exposure to conditions which could induce 474°C (885°F) embrittlement. An investigation confirmed that the tray had experienced 474°C (885°F) embrittlement. Although the material met, according to analysis, Type 410 stainless steel composition requirements, it also contained a significant concentration of titanium, raising the suspicion that the alloy was Type 409 stainless steel. Results of the investigation tend to reinforce the concept advanced by others that titanium promotes 474°C (885°F) embrittlement in the straight chromium steels. Additional work is required to define the chromium and titanium levels which can lead to embrittlement.
ferritic stainless steels, fracture toughness, embrittlement
Senior staff research metallurgist, Shell Development Co., Houston, Tex.