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Numerous cracks observed on the surface of a forged A470 Class 4 alloy steel steam turbine rotor disc from an air compressor in a nitric acid plant were found to be the result of caustic induced stress-corrosion cracking (SCC). No material defects or anomalies were observed in the disc sample that could have contributed to crack initiation or propagation or secondary crack propagation. Chlorides detected in the fracture surface deposits were likely the primary cause for the pitting observed on the disc surfaces and within the turbine blade attachment area. It was recommended that the potential for water carryover or feedwater induction into the turbine be addressed via an engineering evaluation of the plant's water treatment procedures, steam separation equipment, and start-up procedures.

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Leonard J. Hodas, Metallurgical Analysis of Steam Turbine Rotor Disc, Handbook of Case Histories in Failure Analysis, Vol 2, Edited By Khlefa A. Esaklul, ASM International, 1993, p 307–310,

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