Your browser is currently set to block JavaScript.

For full functionality of this site it is necessary to enable JavaScript. Here are the instructions how to enable JavaScript in your web browser.

After enabling javascript, please refresh the page to go back to site with full functionality

Would you turn off/on JavaScript?

It's a widely used language that makes the web what it is today, allowing for websites to be more responsive, dynamic, and interactive. Disabling JavaScript takes websites back to a time when they were simple documents without any other features.

What are the advantages of using JavaScript?

Speed. Since JavaScript is an 'interpreted' language, it reduces the time required by other programming languages like Java for compilation. JavaScript is also a client-side script, speeding up the execution of the program as it saves the time required to connect to the server.

banner ad
Experts Logo


Share |

Plumbing Failure Analysis: Stress Corrosion Cracking of Yellow Brass

By: Dr. Thomas L. Read
Tel: (707) 544-2374
Email Mr. Read


A plumbing failure analysis was performed to determine why a cold water supply line to a bathroom sink had failed after only one year of service. The failed supply pipe was made of chrome plated yellow brass. Figure #1 is a photograph of the failed line. There is a large opening which was the primary crack; in addition, there was another small crack near the ferrule. It is believed that this 'second' crack opened up when the corrugated tube was removed from service. This pipe failure analysis focuses on the initial plumbing failure (i.e. the primary crack).

crack at ferrule

Figure #1: Photograph of the failed cold water supply line which is the focus of the plumbing failure analysis. It is a corrugated line made from chrome plated yellow brass (65% Cu/ 35% Zn).


The pipe failure analysis was performed by visual and with a microscopic analysis. In addition, the pipe failure was cross-sectioned and again viewed with a microscope.


The figures below summarize the physical findings of the failure analysis.
red fracture surface
Mag. 10X
Mag. 30X

Figure #2: Photomicrographs of the primary crack. It appears to have formed at a "kink" in the tubing created during installation. In addition, the fracture surface shows areas of Zn depletion. It appears that the tube had been straightened during or after removal. There is a continuation of the primary crack shown in the upper right photomicrograph. This crack extension shows how brittle the pipe is in the region of the primary crack. Note also the white Zn rich corrosion deposits associated with the corrosion failure.

crack region
Mag. 10X
Zinc Depleted Region
Mag. 200X

Figure #3: Photomicrographs of the failed pipe after cross-sectioning. The cross-sectioning exposes the crack region. Associated with the cracking is a change in color of the brass. There are Zn depleted regions, and this indicates localized brass dezincification associated with the cracking. The higher magnification photo on the right shows a distinct color change of the brass. In addition, there is also porosity associated with the Zn depletion of the brass near the failure.

ferrule crack
Mag. 30X
Zinc Depleted Region and Zinc rich corrosion
Mag. 40X

Figure #4: Photomicrographs of another crack located where the ferrule is deforming the tube at one end. This crack also has brass dezincification associated with it.


The cracking appears to be the result of stress corrosion cracking. There is residual stress as a result of plastic deformation of the corrugated yellow brass tubing during installation. The metal corrosion also appears to be associated with the absence of the chrome plating. In addition, there is brass dezincification as a result of the stress corrosion cracking. Possibly, ammonia containing cleaners had been used on or near this supply line, and this contributed to the corrosion.


The plumbing failure analysis indicates that the failure was a result of stress corrosion cracking and dezincification of yellow brass. This failure is appears to be localized season cracking of brass.
Share |

Dr. Thomas L. Read, CEO of Read Consulting received his PhD. from Stanford University in 1972. He has over 25 years of manufacturing experience in electronics, metallurgy, factory safety, failure analysis, glass fracture, glass failure and bottle failure. As a member of the electronics industry, Dr. Read has earned process patents and has an extensive background in manufacturing techniques. In parallel, he has spent over twenty five years as a consultant to attorneys and engineers in the areas of failure analysis, metallurgy, glass fracture, glass failure, bottle failure, factory safety, manufacturing problems, intellectual property and patent disputes.

©Copyright - All Rights Reserved


Related articles


7/7/2009· Failure Analysis

Failure Analysis of a Broken Jam Jar

By: Dr. Thomas Read

Glass fractography is the most effective method for determining why a glass object, such as a bottle, failed. This technique consists of examining the fracture surfaces of the failure for artifacts such as Wallner lines and using them to trace the crack back to its origin. Once the origin has been identified, it can be examined in detail with a microscope to determine the cause of the failure.


8/30/2011· Failure Analysis

Metal Failure Analysis: Metal Food Contaminant Failure Analysis

By: Dr. Thomas Read

Materials failure analysis expert performs a failure analysis to determine the source of a metal piece found in tomato product.


12/20/2013· Failure Analysis

Outboard Boating Engine Accident: Mechanical Failure Analysis

By: Gerald Davis

A severe personal injury incident occurred as a recreational fishing boat was approaching a dock at approximately 20 mph after a day on the water. The large outboard engine (75 HP) on the stern of the boat struck a fixed underwater obstruction, flipped into the boat while still running and amputated the hand of a passenger seated near the engine.

; broker Movie Ad

Follow us

linkedin logo youtube logo rss feed logo