Stress Corrosion Cracking

A special section by NSF International (Oct. 2009) contained an article called “NSF Standard 14 Addresses Dezincification and Stress Crack Corrosion.” Actually, the term SCC stands for Stress Corrosion Cracking, not Stress Crack Corrosion. The article even quoted the title of ASTM B858, which spelled it out correctly.

In addition, the authors’ description of the phenomenon is not entirely correct. SCC is not corrosion of cracks formed by stress. Rather, SCC is the formation of cracks due to, and in the presence of, both stress and corrosion, which may not otherwise occur if either component (stress or corrosion) were absent.

John E. Scates, P.E.
Carrollton, TX

Weighing In On Water Closets

I am an electrical engineer in a small engineering company and am writing in response to Julius Ballanco’s Nov. 2009 column (“A Weighty Issue at Angels Stadium”). I am also the father of a 25-year-old physically disabled woman. Although she is not “fat” - in fact, she is the world record holder in the 400 meter and 800 meter dash - I find this case to be a travesty of justice. (With the caveat being that the woman was not pulling off a scam here, and the jury saw or sensed that this was someone gold digging).

As you stated, the engineering standards are clear. The case should be open and shut. This should not happen. You (at 180 lbs.) and I (at 200 lbs.) should both be able to stand on that toilet and not cause it to fall off the wall. Especially since it was installed knowing that the fixtures will take hard treatment every day.

Physically disabled individuals, fat or not, need the fixtures to withstand more pressures as they transfer to/from them. And the code supports that.

I guess I am so upset here because this sets a precedent for other retailers and public building owners to fall back on, and those that are really injured will not get justice. I know of an ongoing case in New Jersey where a physically disabled person was in a bathroom in a large retailer. The person was transferred from the wheelchair to a floor-mounted toilet, and the seat was not fully attached. The person fell off the toilet and was wedged in the space between the toilet and the wall. That person now has nerve damage to the face, with pain and permanent lip drop.

What is it about LA? Cases like this (and the OJ Simpson trial) prove they must live in a different time warp than the rest of the world. This woman should appeal.

Phil Galli, B.S.E.E., VP Projects
Princeton Design Group, Inc.
Somerville, NJ

More Heated Emotions

Back in the 1930s Will Rogers said, “We have the best politicians money can buy.” I guess things have not changed, per Julius Ballanco’s codes column in June 2009 (“Heated Emotions, Mixed Results”). Two years ago I tried to buy a new home in Knoxville with fire sprinklers and could not find a single one. When I spoke with several builders, they all said that if they supply fire sprinklers they cannot be competitive. I asked them to build a home with sprinklers, and they refused since the look of the heads “ruined the aesthetics of the home.”

They were afraid if I backed out of the deal at the last minute they could not sell it. These are the same guys who were living in million-dollar homes because they were netting six-figure profits. Most of the builders that I am familiar with have lost those big homes to the current economic crisis.

General Motors put me through college. They were sticklers on fire protection after the Lithonia Hydromatic Plant fire in the 1950s. The photos from that fire showed how destructive a fire can be.

I hope your crusade for residential fire safety is successful.

William T. Allen, P.E.
Mechanical Engineering Manager
Geo-Marine Inc.
Energy Services Group
Knoxville, TN

Selecting Valves

Recently I came across an older article in your magazine by Michael Frankel called “Selecting Valves to Solve Unusual Design Problems” (Jan. 2008). I really enjoyed the article and wanted to congratulate the author for such a fine effort. It is certainly one of the best articles that I have ever read on the subject.

Jim Howell
Tracy Mechanical

Editor’s Note:
The staff of pme couldn’t agree with you more, as Michael Frankel remains one of our most popular contributing writers. His articles on valves are always well-received by our readership. Let me strongly suggest you read his latest article in pme,“Valves For Process Piping: An Introduction,” which appears HERE in this issue.