The customer experienced wire breakage problems with tungsten-rhenium thermocouples and submitted a sample for failure analysis.
The Findings / Analysis
The thermocouple was deconstructed and the failed section was prepared for chemical analysis. Analysis results indicated contamination by iron, nickel, chromium and copper. One or more of these elements are know to cause embrittlement of tungsten rhenium alloys. The spectrum shown in Figure 1 shows these contaminates along with the base metal elements tungsten and rhenium.
The chemical analysis test report formed the basis for recommendations given to the customer for likely sources of contamination and how to avoid them.
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