Failure Analysis of a Gas Turbine Marriage Bolt
An 18-MW gas turbine exploded unexpectedly after three hours of normal operation. The catastrophic failure caused extensive damage to the rotor, casing, and nearly all turbo-compressor components. Based on their initial review, investigators believed that the failure originated at the interface between two shaft sections held together by 24 marriage bolts. Visual and SEM examination of several bolts revealed extensive deterioration of the coating layer and the presence of deep corrosion pits. It was also learned that the bolts were nearing the end of their operating life, suggesting that the effects of fatigue-assisted corrosion had advanced to the point where one of the bolts fractured and broke free. The inertial unbalance produced excessive vibration, subjecting the remaining bolts to overload failure.