Stress-Corrosion Cracking of a Die-Cast Zinc Alloy Nut
Two nuts were used to secure the water-supply pipes to the threaded connections on hot-water and cold-water taps. The nut used on the cold-water tap fractured about one week after installation. Examination of the fracture surfaces of the coldwater nut did not reveal any obvious defects to account for the fracture, but there were indications of excessive porosity in the nut. The fracture had occurred through the root of the first thread that was adjacent to the flange of the tap. It was found that the nut from the cold-water tap failed by SCC. Apparently, sufficient stress was developed in the nut to promote this type of failure by normal installation because there was no evidence of excessive tightening of the nut. Corrosion testing of the nuts indicated that the fractured nut was highly susceptible to intergranular corrosion because of either a deficiency in magnesium content or excessive impurities, such as lead, tin, or cadmium. This composition problem with zinc alloys was recognized many years ago, and particular attention has been directed toward ensuring that high-purity zinc is used. This corrective measure reportedly resulted in virtual elimination of this type of defect.