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Failures of Brass Components in Water and Steam Systems

Case histories will illustrate failures that occurred in components that were made of different brass alloys in water and steam systems. Recommendations will be made to mitigate the damage that occurred in each case.

Product Number: 51317--9123-SG
ISBN: 9123 2017 CP
Author: James Dillon
Publication Date: 2017
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Brass is a commonly used material in water and steam systems for tubing fittings fasteners and various cast components. “Brass” is a generic term that refers to several different copper containing alloys. Perhaps the most common brass alloys that are used in water and steam systems are copper alloys that contain varying amounts of zinc. One particular zinc containing brass alloy which has excellent corrosion resistance in a wide variety of different water chemistries is inhibited admiralty brass. This alloy has been used with great success in water cooled industrial heat exchangers and power plant surface condensers for many years. Other brass alloys have been used to construct components in water and steam systems that do not have the same composition and microstructure as admiralty brass. Of particular concern is the use of brass alloys containing high concentrations of zinc. These alloys tend to experience premature failures in large part due to their composition and microstructure. This paper will describe how various alloying elements and microstructures of brass alloys influence corrosion. Case histories will illustrate failures that occurred in components that were made of different brass alloys in water and steam systems. Recommendations will be made to mitigate the damage that occurred in each case.

 

Keywords: Brass, copper, zinc, alpha, beta, phase, dezincification, dealloying

Brass is a commonly used material in water and steam systems for tubing fittings fasteners and various cast components. “Brass” is a generic term that refers to several different copper containing alloys. Perhaps the most common brass alloys that are used in water and steam systems are copper alloys that contain varying amounts of zinc. One particular zinc containing brass alloy which has excellent corrosion resistance in a wide variety of different water chemistries is inhibited admiralty brass. This alloy has been used with great success in water cooled industrial heat exchangers and power plant surface condensers for many years. Other brass alloys have been used to construct components in water and steam systems that do not have the same composition and microstructure as admiralty brass. Of particular concern is the use of brass alloys containing high concentrations of zinc. These alloys tend to experience premature failures in large part due to their composition and microstructure. This paper will describe how various alloying elements and microstructures of brass alloys influence corrosion. Case histories will illustrate failures that occurred in components that were made of different brass alloys in water and steam systems. Recommendations will be made to mitigate the damage that occurred in each case.

 

Keywords: Brass, copper, zinc, alpha, beta, phase, dezincification, dealloying

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