Fracture of a Coupling in a Line-Shaft Vertical Turbine Pump
A coupling in a line-shaft vertical turbine pump installed in a dam foundation fractured after a very short time. The coupling material was ASTM A582 416 martensitic stainless steel. Visual, macrofractographic, and scanning electron microscopic examination of the coupling showed that the fracture was brittle and was initiated by an intergranular cracking mechanism. The mode of fracture outside the crack initiation zone was transgranular cleavage. No indication of fatigue was found. The failure was attributed to improper heat treatment during manufacture, which resulted in a brittle microstructure susceptible to corrosion. The crack initiated either by stress-corrosion or hydrogen cracking. It was recommended that the couplings in the system be examined for surface cracking and, if present, corrective measures be taken.