Stress Corrosion Cracking of Expansion Bellows of Steam Main
Several articulated bellows of 10 in. ID developed leakage from the convolutions after a service life of some 18 months. One of the units received from examination showed cracking at the crown of a convolution and at the attachment weld to the pipe. Sectioning of the bellows revealed many others cracks on the internal surface which did not penetrate to the outside. Microscopical examination showed multiple intergranular, tree-like cracking typical of stress-corrosion cracking. Concentration of sodium hydroxide occurred in the bellows unit and the stress-corrosion cracking which developed was of the form known as caustic cracking. It was recommended that water for de-superheater use should be taken after the deaerator and prior to the addition of salts which may deposit or concentrate in the desuperheater.