Deterioration of a pressure vessel during normal operation by thermal aging of the material is not a serious concern for most pressure vessels. Some types of thermal aging that can cause deterioration of vessels in process plants are:
• Temper embrittlement
• Creep embrittlement
• Sensitization of austenitic stainless steels
Unfortunately, NDE cannot detect these types of thermal aging until cracks develop as a consequence of the deterioration. Other forms of deterioration that can occur during the long-term operation of a vessel at elevated temperatures, such as creep, hydrogen attack, and thermal fatigue are not included in this definition of thermal aging.
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