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ASM Failure Analysis Case Histories

Handbook of Case Histories in Failure Analysis

Edited by
Khlefa A. Esaklul
Khlefa A. Esaklul
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Heat Exchangers



Leaks developed in 22 admiralty brass condenser tubes. The tubes were part of a condenser that was being used to condense steam from a nuclear power plant and had been in operation for less than 2 years. Analysis identified three types of failure modes: stress-corrosion cracking, corrosion under deposit (pitting and crevice), and dezincification. Fractures were transgranular and typical of stress-corrosion cracking. The primary cause of the corrosion deposit was low-flow conditions in those parts of the condenser where failure occurred. Maintenance of proper flow conditions was recommended.


Several nickel-base superalloy (UNS N06600) welded heat-exchanger tubes used in processing black liquor in a kraft paper mill failed prematurely. Leaking occurred through the tube walls at levels near the bottom tube sheet. The tubes had been installed as replacements for type 304 stainless steel tubes. Visual and stereoscopic examination revealed three types of corrosion on the inside surfaces of the tubes: uniform attack, deeper localized corrosive attack, and accelerated uniform attack. Metallographic analysis indicated that pronounced dissimilar-metal corrosion had occurred in the base metal immediately adjacent to the weld seam. The corrosion was attributed to exposure to nitric acid cleaning solution and was accelerated by galvanic differences between the tubes and a stainless steel tube sheet and between the base metal of the tubes and their dendritic weld seams. A change to type 304 stainless steel tubing made without dendritic weld seams was recommended.

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1993. "Heat Exchangers", Handbook of Case Histories in Failure Analysis, Khlefa A. Esaklul

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