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Failure Analysis of Ruptured Refinery Bellows

An engineer was seriously burned when a thirty-nine inch expansion joint ruptured while workman were performing temporary repairs at a Texas refinery. The ruptured bellows spilled hot catalyst from a fluidizer catalytic cracking unit on the deck which the engineer had to cross to reach safety. We were asked to determine why the bellows failed. We found that the stainless steel had not been heat-treated properly during the making of the steel itself and it was sensitized during fabrication and made susceptible to corrosive attack.
 

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