Failure of Copper Alloy 443 Heat-Exchanger Tubes
Tubes in heat exchangers, made of copper alloy C44300 and used for cooling air failed after 5 to six years of service. Air passed over the shell-side surface of the tubes and was cooled by water flowing through the tubes. Water vapor in the air was condensed (pH 4.5) on the tube surfaces during the cooling process. Air flow over the tubes reversed direction every 585 mm as a result of baffling placed in the heat exchangers. An uneven ridgelike thinning and perforation of the tube wall on the leeward side of the tube was revealed by visual examination. Undercut pits on the outer surface of the tube were revealed by metallographic examination of a cross section of the failed area. Impingement attack which led to perforation was revealed by both the ridgelike appearance of the damaged area and the undercut pitting. The heat exchanger was retubed with tubes made of aluminum bronze (copper alloy C61400).
Failure of Copper Alloy 443 Heat-Exchanger Tubes, ASM Failure Analysis Case Histories: Power Generating Equipment, ASM International, 2019, https://doi.org/10.31399/asm.fach.power.c0048714
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