The Potential Danger of Centrifuge Baskets
Two cases of failure of centrifuge baskets were investigated. The first involved a centrifuge running at approximately 1000 rpm. The basket was constructed from a perforated sheet of stainless steel rolled into a cylinder and joined by a single vee longitudinal weld. Detailed examination showed the weld had not completely penetrated the full depth of the section. The fracture faces showed a gradually progressing fatigue crack developing from a notch, formed by the lack of penetration, at the root of the weld. Microscopic examination of the parent plate showed it was a typical titanium stabilized austenitic steel. It is probable that had the basket been subjected to a periodic inspection by a competent person, this failure would not have occurred. The second case concerned a continuous duty centrifuge operating at 2200 rpm. Fracture had occurred at the circumferential weld attaching the stainless steel skirt to the basket rim and also in the region of the vertical weld which was made when the skirt was formed into a cone. Stress-corrosion cracking of the skirt material, which contained residual stresses due to cold-rolling, had been caused by the presence of sodium chloride.