Journal of Failure Analysis and Prevention

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 316–322 | Cite as

Failure Analysis of Ethylene Cracking Tube

  • V. Tari
  • A. Najafizadeh
  • M. H. Aghaei
  • M. A. Mazloumi
Case History---Peer-Reviewed


Radiant tubes of an ethane furnace at a petrochemical plant fabricated from an austenitic heat resistant steel casting (HP grade) failed along longitudinal direction after a fraction of anticipated service life. To study the cause of failure, microstructures of as-received and used tubes were investigated by optical and scanning electron microscopy and the microchemical composition of tubes and precipitated carbide were determined by energy dispersive X-ray (EDS). Also, the morphology of deposited coke particles was determined by SEM/EDS. Finally to measure the extent of carbon penetration, hardness testing was performed on the inner and outer surface of tube. The experimental results show that the improper coking and decoking cycles remove the protective oxide layer (Cr2O3) that forms on the exposed surfaces and that, with this layer removed, the coke could easily deposit on inner, non-protected surface. The carbon diffusion into the metal was accelerated with deposited coke and caused microstructural degradation and drastically reduced the ductility of material at high temperatures.


Heat resistant steel Failure analysis Tube Decoking cycles Carburization 


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Copyright information

© ASM International 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. Tari
    • 1
  • A. Najafizadeh
    • 1
  • M. H. Aghaei
    • 1
  • M. A. Mazloumi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Materials EngineeringIsfahan University of TechnologyIsfahanIran

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