Practical Failure Analysis

, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 63–74 | Cite as

Biologically induced corrosion and consequent fracture of a pump shaft coupling

  • Tim A. Jur
Peer Reviewed Articles


During a routine start-up exercise of a standby service water pump, a threaded coupling that joined sections of a 41.5 ft (12.7 m) long pump shaft experienced fracture. The pump was taken out of service and examined to determine the cause of fracture. It was apparent early in the examination that the fracture involved hydrogen stress cracking. However, the nature of the corrosive attack suggested an interaction between the threaded coupling and biological organisms living in the freshwater environment of the pump shaft. The organisms had colonized on the coupling, changing the local environment and creating conditions favorable to hydrogen stress cracking. This paper describes the analysis of the fracture of the coupling and provides an example of how biologically induced corrosion can result in unexpected fracture of a relatively basic machine part.


biological organisms corrosion hydrogen stress cracking stainless steel 


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Copyright information

© ASM International - The Materials Information Society 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tim A. Jur
    • 1
  1. 1.Engineering Design and Testing CorporationColumbia

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