June 2001

Engineering Case Histories

Case 3: Shaft galling in a bushing

When troubleshooting, the cause may not be as obvious as it first appears

Sofronas, A., Consulting Engineer

A good procedure to follow when analyzing failures is to question everything you are told. This case involved the failure of a large vertical process pump. It had an internal bronze bushing, which was used as a steady bearing for a six-in., type 4340 steel shaft (Fig. 1). The shop report indicated that the shaft and bushing were badly galled. Although conventional "rules-of-thumb" typically call for these diametral clearances to be 0.001 in. per in. of shaft diameter, consensus was that the shaft was impacting the bushing due to operational upsets. In turn, these impacts were thought to have caused the galling. The bushing

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