The failure of a shaft from a motor in a pump or a compressor has been a phenomenon of common occurrence in seawater desalination plants. The origin of the problem in majority of cases is either the inability of the material to withstand the level of dynamic stresses to which shaft is subjected during operation and/or inadequacy of the design. The shortcoming in the design may be responsible for initiating localized corrosion which ultimately leads to failure of the component. The mode of failure of the shaft could be stress-related failure such as stress corrosion cracking, mechanical fatigue or corrosion fatigue, and/or localized corrosion such as crevice corrosion. This paper describes some recent case studies related to shaft failures in seawater desalination plants. The case studies include shearing of a shaft in brine recycle pump in which a combination of environment, design, and stresses played important role in failure. In another case, ingress of chloride inside the key slot was the main cause of the problem. The failure in a high pressure seawater pump in a SWRO plant occurred due to cracking in the middle of the shaft.

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