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Common Causes of Industrial Plant Failure

Common Causes of Industrial Plant Failure

The failure of industrial plant and equipment can have serious consequences.

This excellent guide investigates common causes of industrial plant failure.

This technical guide, originally developed by the UK's Health and Safety Executives Hazardous Installations Directorate covers the various causes of industrial plant failure.


Corrosion is caused by electro-chemical processes in which a metal reacts with its environment to form an oxide or compound by the formation of cells comprising an anode (the deteriorating metal), a cathode (adjacent metal) and a conducting solution (acid / salts). It can occur both internally and externally to pipelines, vessels, plant, machinery, structures and supports.

Materials selection

The materials selection philosophy aspect of the design phase of all plant and structures should take into account the anticipated conditions (pressure, temperature and atmosphere) and the contents of the system in order to either minimise corrosion or to make adequate allowances for it in the form of additional material thicknesses.

Some further aspects of the use of different materials for various applications are discussed in Materials Commonly Used in Process Plant.

The initial corrosion on some metals creates an impervious coating which prevents further corrosion taking place.

Corrosion can be exacerbated by utilising different materials which then set up an electrochemical cell which in turn causes wastage of the anode.....more

Contents of the guide

Other causes of industrial plant failure covered in the guide include:

  • Corrosion
  • Erosion
  • External Loading
  • Impact
  • Pressure
  • Temperature
  • Vibration
  • Wrong Equipment
  • Defective Equipment
  • Human Error... request a copy of the full document >>

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