Journal of Failure Analysis and Prevention

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 303–311 | Cite as

Failure Analysis of AISI-304 Stainless Steel Styrene Storage Tank

  • Muhammad Sajid Ali Asghar
  • Fawad Tariq
  • Ashraf Ali
Technical Article---Peer-Reviewed


This paper presents the failure analysis of AISI-304 stainless steel tank that was fabricated by welding and used for the storage of styrene monomers. After about 13 years of satisfactory operation, significant cracking was observed adjacent to the weld joints and in base plate near tank foundation. Weld repair was by shielded gas arc welding using AISI 308 stainless steel filler wire. The failed base plate was replaced with the new AISI 304 base plate of same thickness. After a short period of time, seepage was observed along the weld bead. Upon nondestructive testing cracks were found in the heat-affected zone and in the base plate. The failure investigation was carried out on welded and base plate samples using spectroscopy, optical and scanning electron microscopy, fractography, SEM–EDS analysis, microhardness measurements, tensile and impact testing. The results revealed transgranular cracks in the HAZ and base plate, and the failure was attributed due to stress corrosion cracking. Cracks initiated as a result of combined action of stresses developed during welding and the presence of a chloride containing environment due to seawater. It was further observed that improper welding parameters were employed for weld repair which resulted in sensitization of the structure and postweld heat treatment to remove weld sensitization and minimize the residual stresses was not done.


Stress corrosion cracking Styrene AISI-304 Fractography Transgranular cracks Carbides Dye penetrant SEM 



This failure analysis was carried out in the Department of Materials Engineering with the permission of NED University of Engineering and Technology, Karachi. The authors thank Mr. Abdul Salam for optical microscopy, and Ms. Maheen and Mr. Syed Almas for SEM–EDS work. The authors also thank Mr. Ghufran Ahmed Khan and Mr. Muhammad Shahzad Raza Ali for their technical assistance and valuable suggestions throughout this work.


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Copyright information

© ASM International 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Muhammad Sajid Ali Asghar
    • 1
  • Fawad Tariq
    • 1
  • Ashraf Ali
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Materials EngineeringNED University of Engineering and TechnologyKarachiPakistan

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