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Copper electrical feedthrough pins used in a bolting application in a refrigeration compressor had functioned without failure for years of production and thousands of units. When some of the pins began to fail, an investigation was conducted to determine the cause. Visual examination revealed that the observed fractures were mixed brittle intergranular with ductile microvoid dimples. An extensive analysis of failed samples combined with a process of elimination indicated that the fractures were due to stress-corrosion cracking caused by an unidentified chemical species within the sealed compressor chamber. A unique combination of applied stress, residual stress, stress riser, and grain size helped isolate the failure mechanism to a single production lot of material.

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