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A type 410 stainless steel circulating water pump shaft used in a fossil power steam generation plant failed after more than 7 years of service. Visual examination showed the fracture surface to be coated with a thick, spalling, rust-colored scale, along with evidence of pitting. Samples for SEM fractography, EDS analysis, and metallography were taken at the crack initiation site. Hardness testing produced a value of approximately 27 HRC. The examinations clearly established that the shaft failed by fatigue. The fatigue crack originated at a localized region on the outside surface where pitting and intergranular cracking had occurred. The localized nature of the initial damage indicated that a corrosive medium had concentrated on the surface, probably due to a leaky seal. Reduction of hardness to 22 HRC or lower and inspection of seals were recommended to prevent future failures.

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Joyce M. Hare, Fatigue Failure of a Circulating Water Pump Shaft, Handbook of Case Histories in Failure Analysis, Vol 2, Edited By Khlefa A. Esaklul, ASM International, 1993, p 348–353,

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