Investigation of Turbine Disc Cracking by Field Metallography
Stress-corrosion cracking of low-alloy steel turbine discs has emerged as a generic concern in nuclear generating stations. An investigation that made extensive use of field metallographic techniques to examine suspected cracking in such a component is described. The crack position, and its relationship to surface topographic features, were examined and recorded by magnetic rubber and high-resolution dental rubber replicating materials. Corrosion deposits on keyway surfaces and within the crack were collected with acetate foil replicas applied and then stripped from the keyway surfaces. Microstructural details were revealed by the use of field metallographic preparation techniques and replicated by acetate foil for examination with optical and scanning electron microscopes. It was possible by these techniques to establish the cracking mechanism as stress corrosion possibly related to chloride or sulphate ion steam contaminants. Subsequent sectioning and conventional metallography confirmed both the validity of the conclusions and the replication techniques.