The causes of cracking of an as-drawn 90-10 cupronickel tube during mechanical working were investigated to determine the source of embrittlement. Embrittlement was sporadic, but when present was typically noted after the first process anneal. Microstructural and chemical analyses were performed on an embrittled section and on a section from a different lot that did not crack during forming. The failed section showed an intergranular fracture path. Examination of the fracture surfaces revealed the presence of tellurium at the grain boundaries. The source of the tellurium was thought to be contamination occurring in the casting process that became concentrated in the recycled skimmings. It was recommended that future material specifications for skimmings and for externally obtained scrap copper include a trace analysis for tellurium.
S.A. Bradley, Failure of an Embrittled Tube, Handbook of Case Histories in Failure Analysis, Vol 2, Edited By Khlefa A. Esaklul, ASM International, 1993, p 194–196, https://doi.org/10.31399/asm.fach.v02.c9001335
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