Misdiagnosis and Misinterpretation
The presence of secondary, branching intergranular stress-corrosion cracking in a type 440C stainless bearing caused the analyst to overlook the real culprit, which was a mechanically-initiated, primary transgranular crack that propagated through the steel's hard chromium carbide. Failure was actually caused by overload. Had the original conclusion been accepted, a relatively exotic alloy would have been specified. In another case, brass heat exchanger tube failure was automatically attributed to attack by an acidic cleaner, and a decision was made to stop using the solution. A more thorough analysis showed failure was caused by tube vibration. In a third case,...