RR902 - Chloride stress corrosion cracking in austenitic stainless steel - Assessing susceptibility and structural integrity

Chloride stress corrosion cracking (CLSCC) is one the most common reasons why austenitic stainless steel pipework and vessels deteriorate in the chemical processing and petrochemical industries. Deterioration by CLSCC can lead to failures that have the potential to release stored energy and/or hazardous substances. Failures of plant can be prevented by an awareness of the onset and evolution of CLSCC, and by periodic inspection to monitor the extent of cracking. Although the deterioration of austenitic stainless steels by CLSCC is well known, recent incidents and inspection visits by HSE have found that susceptibility assessments were inconsistent and did not always take account of current knowledge. Discussions between HSE, dutyholders and competent bodies identified that the technical justification for setting inspection intervals and the effectiveness of periodic non-destructive examination (NDE) for monitoring CLSCC were additional areas of concern.

This report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy.

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Updated 2021-04-23