Failure of a Thick-Wall Casing for a Steam Turbine by Cracking
A crack was discovered in a cast steel (ASTM A 356, grade 6) steam turbine casing during normal overhaul of the turbine. The mechanical properties of the casting all exceeded the requirements of the specification. When the fracture surface was examined visually, an internal-porosity defect was observed adjoining a tapped hole. A second, much larger cavity was also detected. Investigation (visual inspection and 7500x SEM fractographs) supported the conclusions that failure occurred through a zone of structural weakness that was caused by internal casting defects and a tapped hole. The combination of cyclic loading (thermal fatigue), an aggressive service environment (steam), and internal defects resulted in gradual crack propagation, which was, at times, intergranular-with or without corrosive attack-and, at other times, was transgranular.