Stress-Corrosion Cracking of Austenitic Stainless Steel Hydro-Extractor Components
Following disruption of the austenitic stainless steel basket of a hydro-extractor used for the separation of crystals of salt (sodium chloride) from glycerin, samples of the broken parts were analyzed. Examination revealed that the fish-plates joining the reinforcing hoops had broken, the shell had split from top to bottom adjacent to the weld, the top and bottom cover plates had become loose, all the rivets having pulled out, and the shaft was also found to be bent. Fracture took place in an irregular manner and was of the shear type towards both ends; it occurred immediately adjacent to the weld or a short distance from it and on alternate sides. Microscopical examination did not reveal any intergranular carbide precipitation, such as is well known to result in the weld-decay mode of failure. It was concluded that the primary cause of failure was stress-corrosion cracking arising from the combined effect of residual stresses and the corrosive effect of the material being centrifuged. If the shell had been stress-relieved after fabrication, the failure likely would not have occurred.