Designed for Failure: Manufacturing and Design of Residential Brass Plumbing Components
By Alain Abou Antoun Jr. Eng., M. Eng,
The durability of a plumbing system is directly dependent on the quality of its component parts and the assembly skills of those who install it. No plumbing system, however well designed, can be expected to operate safely or hygienically if the products or materials used are unsatisfactory. Moreover, even if the best-quality products or materials are used but are installed incorrectly, the system will be a failure.
In recent years a significant increase in the failure of residential plumbing brass components has been noted. Many factors leading to brass part failures have been outlined in the literature relating to failure analysis of such alloys. Amongst those, more chemical causes such as dezincification and stress corrosion cracking (SCC) are most often cited. However, the design and manufacturing of the residential brass plumbing parts also contribute and are oftentimes solely responsible for the failure of brass plumbing components.
In this bulletin, we will review the design and manufacturing criteria used in the production of brass components, their role in the failure of these components and we will highlight some of the common design and manufacturing related problems with example from case studies submitted over the years to CEP.