Fracture analysis of a low pressure steam turbine blade

Ernst Plesiutschnig, Patrick Johannes Fritzl, Norbert Enzinger, Christof Sommitsch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cracks were analysed at the root of the third blade row of low-pressure steam turbine blades of different natural frequencies. The root cause of the fatigue crack initiation was pitting corrosion of the forged ferritic/martensitic X20Cr13 material. Metallographic investigations, finite element analysis and fracture mechanics analysis combined with experimental data from the literature are used to evaluate crack propagating stresses to discuss the operating conditions. The calculations show that corrosion pits at the root of the turbine blade increase the local stresses above yield strength. Excitation of natural frequencies by changing the rotor speed is not responsible for the crack propagation. The centrifugal load and superimposed bending load caused by unsteady steam forces are responsible for the crack propagation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-50
Number of pages11
JournalCase Studies in Engineering Failure Analysis
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Turbine blade
  • Pitting corrosion
  • FEM
  • 1.4021 (AISI 420)

Fields of Expertise

  • Advanced Materials Science

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