Practical failure analysis

, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp 31–43 | Cite as

Integrating design, maintenance, and failure analysis to increase structural valve integrity

  • D. J. Benac
  • R. A. Page
Peer Reviewed Articles


A successful valve integrity program depends on the integration between the design phase, qualification testing, and documentation of field problems through systematic failure analyses. The integration of the results from a comprehensive and thorough failure investigation is essential to maintain valve integrity and to prevent failure of valves. This paper proposes five critical questions that a valve user or failure investigator should address when a valve fails: 1) where did the failure initiate, 2) what was the mechanism for failure, 3) why did the failure occur, 4) how long had the crack been present, and 5) how many parts (valves) are affected by the problem? The importance of these questions is illustrated using individual case histories. The case histories include: 1) a fire in a ball valve, 2) a sticking butterfly valve, 3) a flaw in a gate valve stem, 4) fatigue cracks in a solenoid valve body, and 5) hydrogen embrittlement of a bolt. The lessons learned from these failure investigations were incorporated into the design, use, and monitoring of the valves to prevent future failure.


failure analysis fatigue hydrogen embrittlement structural integrity valves 


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Copyright information

© ASM International - The Materials Information Society 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. J. Benac
    • 1
  • R. A. Page
    • 2
  1. 1.Bryant-Lee AssociatesSan Antonio
  2. 2.Southwest Research InstituteSan Antonio

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