Metallurgy Expert Witness Analyzes Brass Piping


Metallurgy expertThis case involves plumbing fittings and their degradation. The plaintiff, a thirty-nine-year-old male, built a new house, with an extensive plumbing system. The fittings used were made of yellow brass, with a zinc content greater than 15%. After six months, as a result of corrosion, the fittings began to spring multiple leaks, causing extensive water damage. Additionally, because of the positioning of the pipes, it cost forty thousand dollars to repair them. The plaintiff brought suit against the maker of the pipes, alleging that the zinc to copper ratio contributed to the leaks in the pipes. The manufacturer claimed that the plaintiff did not conduct any pressure testing and the higher water pressure, and not the composition of the pipes, caused the issues.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Are you experienced in corrosion, specifically dezincification and stress corrosion cracking?

Expert Witness Response E-006244

In cases where stress corrosion and dezincification occurs, the first step is to analyze the percentages of copper and zinc. When the zinc content is greater than 15%, it can be taken out of the brass fitting as water comes through and accumulates in the fitting. Usually, this breaks down the fitting structurally. Increased water pressure can help this process along, but I have not encountered a scenario where this process occurred without a zinc percentage of 15% or higher. I would have to review the specifics of the case, but it appears that the chemical composition of the alloy caused the leaks to occur.

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