Metallurgical Evaluation of Prestressed Wire Failures
Microstructure, corrosion, and fracture morphologies of prestressed steel wires that failed in service on concrete siphons at the Central Arizona Project (CAP) are discussed. The CAP conveys water for municipal, industrial, and agricultural use through a system of canals, tunnels, and siphons from Lake Havasu to just south of Tucson, AZ. Six siphons were made from prestressed concrete pipe units 6.4 m (21 ft) in diam and 7.7 m long, making them the largest circular precast structures ever built. The pipe was manufactured on site and consisted of a 495-mm thick concrete core, wrapped with ASTM A648 steel prestressing wire. All of the CAP failures evaluated were attributed to corrosion. Longitudinal splits reduced the service life of the pipe significantly by facilitating corrosion and introducing sharp cracks into the microstructure of the wire. A few failures were attributed to general corrosion, where the cross section of the wire is reduced until the strength of the wire is exceeded. Most of the failures evaluated were attributed to stress-corrosion cracking.