Failure of a Hard-Faced Stainless Steel Pump Sleeve Because of Abrasive Wear by River-Water Silt
River water was pumped into a brine plant by a battery of vertical pumps, each operating at 3600 rpm and at a discharge pressure of 827 kPa (120 psi). The pumps were lubricated by means of controlled leakage. The 3.8 cm (1 in.) OD pump sleeves were made of an austenitic stainless steel and were hard faced with a fused nickel-base hardfacing alloy (approximately 58 HRC). Packing for the pumps consisted of a braided PTFE-asbestos material. After several weeks of operation, the pumps began to leak and to spray water over the platforms on which they were mounted at the edge of the river. Analysis supported the conclusions that the leaks were caused by excessive sleeve wear that resulted from the presence of fine, abrasive silt in the river water. The silt, which contained hard particles of silica, could not be filtered out of the inlet water effectively.