Journal of Failure Analysis and Prevention

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 144–152 | Cite as

Frequent Failures of Motor Shaft in Seawater Desalination Plant: Some Case Studies

  • Anees U. Malik
  • Saleh A. Al-Fozan
  • Fahd Al-Muaili
  • Mohammad Al-Hajri
Case History---Peer-Reviewed


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.


Shaft Seawater desalination plant Stress-related failure Localized corrosion Material selection Design 


  1. 1.
    Berndt, F., Van Bennekom, A.: Pump shaft failures—a compendium of case studies. Eng. Fail. Anal. 8(2), 135–144 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Fuller, R.W., Ehrgott Jr, J.Q., Heard, W.F., Robert, S.D.: Failure analysis of AISI 304 stainless steel shaft. Eng. Fail. Anal. 15(7), 835–846 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Li, Y.J., Zhang, W.F., Tao, C.H.: Fracture analysis of a castellated shaft. Eng. Fail. Anal. 14(4), 573–578 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Loehberg, R., Ulrich, W., Gaffal, K.: Shafts of main coolant pumps—failure analysis and remedies. Nucl. Eng. Des. 112, 243–257 (1989)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Lancha, A.M., Serrano, M., Gomez, D.: Failure analysis of a condensate pump shaft. Eng. Fail. Anal. 5(6), 337–353 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Das, G., Sinha, A.N., Mishra, S.K., Pathak, D.K.: Failure analysis of counter shafts of a centrifugal pump. Eng. Fail. Anal. 6(4), 267–276 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Hassan Shaikh, Khatak, H.S., Gonanamoorthy, J.B.: Failure of a service water pump shaft. In: Esakul, K.A. (ed.) Handbook of Case Histories in Failure Analysis, vol. 2. ASM International, Materials Park, OH (1999)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Hare, J.M.: Failure of a circulating water fatigue pump shaft. In: Esakul, K.A. (ed.) Handbook of Case Histories in Failure Analysis, vol. 2. ASM International, Materials Park, OH (1999)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Pan, H.L., Tang, S.H., Hao, J.W.: Failure analysis of a rotating cantilever shaft in chloride corrosive environment. Eng. Fail. Anal. 13(4), 646–655 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© ASM International 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anees U. Malik
    • 1
  • Saleh A. Al-Fozan
    • 1
  • Fahd Al-Muaili
    • 1
  • Mohammad Al-Hajri
    • 1
  1. 1.Saline Water Desalination Research Institute (SWDRI)Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC)Al-JubailKingdom of Saudi Arabia

Personalised recommendations