Disruption of a Hydro-Extractor
A hydroextractor installed new for the drying of sugar massecuite consisted of a metal basket fixed to a vertical spindle. Disruption occurred just after the machine had been run up to speed and was not preceded by any abnormal behavior. The basket assembly consisted of a Ni-Cr-Mo steel shell and two end plates. It was designed to spin at 2200 rpm, using centrifugal force to expel liquids through nearly 3000 drilled holes in the shell wall. Investigators found that the shell separated completely from the bottom plate. The top plate, though it cracked radially, remained attached over most of its circumference. The basket also contained a 22-gauge Monel metal liner that had been perforated by stabbing, raising pronounced burrs that faced each hole. Apart from the local spots of corrosion due to the lining, the inner surface of the basket showed little evidence of general corrosion. What caused the basket to fail was the presence of corrosion-fatigue cracks or fissures radiating from the holes. A secondary cause was that the scantlings of the basket were too light.