Journal of Failure Analysis and Prevention

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 320–326 | Cite as

Failure Analysis of Two Stainless Steel Based Components Used in an Oil Refinery

  • Cássio Barbosa
  • Jôneo Lopes do Nascimento
  • José Luiz Fernandes
  • Ibrahim de Cerqueira Abud
Case History---Peer-Reviewed


The petroleum industry has changed significantly over the past decades. For example, in Brazil, oil extraction under very deep sea water is growing very quickly. As a consequence, materials and components used for such applications must have properties required to withstand adverse conditions and ensure satisfactory performance and reliability in service. Nonetheless, components that normally fulfill these standard requirements can fail under severe service conditions such as high pressure and temperatures and high concentrations of H2S and CO2. Among the factors that can cause the premature failure in metallic components are the use of inadequate materials, the presence of defects that appeared during the production, and errors of project, assembly, or maintenance. Failure analysis allows the identification of causes and thus contributes to improvements in the operation and performance of similar equipment. In this work, light optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) were used to analyze the microstructure and fracture surface of two centrifugal pump shafts that failed during use in a Brazilian petroleum refinery. The results showed that one shaft, made of duplex stainless steel, failed by fatigue fracture, and the other, made of 316 austenitic stainless steel, experienced a similar fracture, which was promoted by the presence of nonmetallic inclusion particles.


Failure analysis Stainless steels Fracture Fatigue 


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Copyright information

© ASM International 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cássio Barbosa
    • 1
  • Jôneo Lopes do Nascimento
    • 1
    • 2
  • José Luiz Fernandes
    • 2
  • Ibrahim de Cerqueira Abud
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto Nacional de Tecnologia (INT)Rio de JaneiroBrazil
  2. 2.Centro Federal de Educação Tecnológica do Rio de Janeiro (CEFET-RJ)Rio de JaneiroBrazil

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