Material samples collected from failed booster pumps were analyzed to determine the cause of failure and assess the adequacy of the materials used in the design. The pumps had been in service at a power plant, transporting feedwater from a deaerator to a main turbine boiler. Samples from critical areas of the pump were examined using optical and scanning electron microscopy, electrochemical analysis, and tensile testing. Based on microstructure and morphology, estimated corrosion rates, and particle concentrations in the feedwater, it was concluded that cavitation and erosion were the dominant failure mechanisms and that the materials and processes used to make the pumps were largely unsuited for the application.
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