Failure analyses and root cause determination were carried out on the rotor of a high-power generator of gas–diesel dual fuel which presented cracking due to torsional fatigue in its end (region of section change and coupling), after 30,000 h of service. The generator of 307 MW–3000 rpm has a rotor (shaft of 400 mm Ø) manufactured in a proprietary steel grade equivalent to ASTM A470 type, Class 7 of high hardenability. It was reported that the equipment control system showed, in service, a high level of vibrations, not admissible for continuing the operation. First, and during the equipment shutdown for inspection, the presence of cracks, slant to the rotor shaft, was detected by means of visual inspection and dye penetrant test. The failure region corresponds to the zone of coupling–shaft joint, linked by means of fixation by interference, whereas the cracking spread on two fracture planes at 45° with respect to the rotor shaft. On this zone, where cracking started, a severe fretting corrosion damage was evidenced. The characterization and identification of present damage mechanisms were conducted through macrographic, fractographic, SEM, EDS, chemical analyses, and mechanical tests. It was recognized that from the damage by fretting corrosion, fatigue micro-cracks were produced that spread due to service tensions by a mechanism of fretting fatigue. The fatigue fracture propagation was developed into two orthogonal planes at 45° from the longitudinal shaft, which reveals an inversion in the loading condition, only justifiable by torsional vibrations that were assigned to a torsional resonance typical of the system dynamics. It was considered that the torsional vibrations cause micro-movements between components, promoting fretting corrosion and the subsequent fretting fatigue that finally induced the failure by high-cycle torsional fatigue with low-stress amplitude.
Journal of Failure Analysis and Prevention – Springer Journals
Published: May 30, 2018
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