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Two damaged impellers made of austenitic cast iron came from a rotary pump used for pumping brine mixed with drifting sand. On one of the impellers, pieces were broken out of the back wall in four places at the junction to the blades. The fracture edges followed the shape of the blade. Numerous cavitation pits were seen on the inner side of the front wall visible through the breaks in the back wall. The back wall of the as yet intact second impeller which did not show such deep cavitation pits was cracked in places along the line of the blades. The microstructure consisted of lamellar graphite and carbides in an austenitic matrix and was considered normal for the specified material GGL Ni-Cu-Cr 15 6 2. It was concluded that the cause of the damage was porosity at the junction between back wall and blades arising during the casting process. Cavitation did not contribute to fracture but also could have led to damage in the long term in the case of a sound casting. It is therefore advisable in the manufacture of new impellers to take care not only to avoid porosity but also to use alloy GGL Ni-Cu-Cr 15 6 3, which has a higher chromium content and is more resistant to cavitation.

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Egon Kauczor, 2019. "Damaged Impellers in a Rotary Pump", ASM Failure Analysis Case Histories: Failure Modes and Mechanisms

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