Weld Cracking in Boiler Tubes Caused by Molten Copper Penetration
Penetration by molten copper occurred in the economizer of a large water-tube boiler. A cross section through a weld and the crack in the tube revealed a crack was an intergranular fissure. Small fissures of the same type also extended from its flanks. The main fissure was filled with an oxide scale in which were embedded particles having the appearance of metallic copper. It was concluded that the cracking that occurred at the time of re-welding was due to intergranular penetration by copper present in the deposit within the tubes, which had not been completely removed prior to welding. Subsequently, it was ascertained that trouble had been experienced with the centrifugal feed pumps, resulting in scuffing of some bronze rings. The presumption is that bronze particles had been carried in mechanical suspension in the feed water and deposited in the economizer tubes.