The Dangers of Stress Cracks in Valve Components: An Overview from an Industrial Valve Repair Service in Utah

March 15, 2017 3:07 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Valves exist for a very simple reason: they regulate and stop the flow of a material through a pipeline. While the reason for their existence is simple, it is also essential. While the material traveling from point A to point B could be as innocuous as water, it could also be something environmentally hazardous—like oil or chemicals. Whatever the case may be, functional valves are a necessary part of safe plant operations. But as easy as it might be to forget about valve maintenance and upkeep in the rush of your busy workday, it needs to be done regularly to avoid a more serious situation.

Let’s ask an industrial valve repair service in Utah about stress corrosion cracking in valve components.

What is stress corrosion cracking?

Pipelines and valves are not immune to the stresses of pressure and corrosion—especially in industries with caustic chemicals or super-heated liquids that move along at high speeds. Though the incremental damage may not be visible to the naked eye, it is there and constantly taking its toll. In short, corrosion cracking comes in the form of tiny, sometimes even microscopic cracks that weaken the integrity of pipeline components. For valves, this progressive damage can reduce the effectiveness of this critical component, sometimes weakening it to the point of failure.

Signs of stress corrosion cracking

The truth of the matter is that most corrosion cracking is difficult to detect without special testing. Because many of the signs of stress corrosion cracking happen over time and on a near-microscopic level, certain tests must be completed to identify points of concern. One such test is magnetic particle inspection, which uses magnetized particles to cling to normally invisible damage on a pipe or valve. More serious signs of cracking occur when a pipeline or valve fails completely. This typically happens when pressure is suddenly increased—for example, when an emergency forces a pipeline closure, increasing the force on valves and portions of the system.

Three sources of stress cracks

Like water carving its way through a rock riverbed, pressure, speed and time are three of the major contributors to cracks and wear on pipeline components. Consistent pressure and wear will eventually result in damage or failure. While it’s easy to overlook maintenance by reassuring yourself that industrial-grade steel piping and valves are strong, even steel has its limitations. It’s best not to discover what those limits are with a critical failure!

Ways to minimize valve damage

Valve damage can present in a number of ways, and the fix can be as simple as replacing a seal or as drastic as replacing the entire valve. If you are noticing vibration or noises from the valve, you should call for an inspection immediately. As discussed earlier, high heat and high pressure environments take a toll on this equipment, and problems should not be allowed to get worse.

Whenever you are in need of industrial valve repair service in Utah, make sure your first call is to the professional team at Intermountain Valve Services Inc. We look forward to assisting you!

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