The paper examines the causes of failure, which led to a major burst and a fire incident in a high pressure box-type air cooled heat exchanger. The material of the header boxes was duplex steel SA-240 S32205/S31803. Design pressure – 20.8 MPa. The strength calculation was performed in accordance with ASME Section VIII Division 1, Appendix 13. Following on from the results of numerical calculations, examination and testing of samples, cut from the header boxes elements, the study demonstrates that the failure was due to the design and calculation errors, caused by the lack of precision in the ASME Section VIII Division 1, defective workmanship, and an inadequate control. The paper discusses additional requirements, which allow to avoid such failures for the future.

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