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Deterioration of the vanes and a wearing away of the area surrounding the mainshaft-bearing housing of the pump bowl for a submersible water pump used in a well field were noticed during a maintenance inspection. The bowl was sand cast from gray iron and had been in service approximately 45 months. Visual examination of the vanes and the area surrounding the mainshaft-bearing housing revealed a dark corrosion product that was soft, porous, and of low mechanical strength. There were areas with severe erosion. Macrographs of sections through the pump shell and a vane showed darker areas representing graphitic residue and corrosion products that were not removed by erosion. Exposure of the pump bowl to the well water resulted in graphitic corrosion, which generated a soft, porous graphitic residue impregnated with insoluble corrosion products. Failure of the pump bowl resulted from the continuous erosion of the residue by action of the water within the pump.

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Failure of a Gray Iron Pump Bowl Because of Graphitic Corrosion from Exposure to Well Water, ASM Failure Analysis Case Histories: Failure Modes and Mechanisms, ASM International, 2019,

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