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The University of Southampton
Rifi An Enterprise Consultancy Unit

Case Study: Solenoid valve failure

Objective: Identify the cause of failure of a solenoid valve.


  • A solenoid valve had failed on a super yacht.
  • The failure caused significant water damage, for which a warranty claim had been made.
  • The cause of the failure needed to be identified.
  • What we did

  • Inspected the failed solenoid valve and compared it to a new one.
  • Used visual inspection and X-ray Computed Tomography (CT) to examine the failed solenoid valve and the disassembled components.
  • Consultation of the manufacturer's specification documentation and comparison to the failed and new valves.
  • Checking of the electrical coil operation.
  • Provided an independent expert report.
  • Impact

  • Debris in the bleed orifice of the solenoid valve was identified as the cause of the eventual failure of the valve.
  • The debris was most likely from the result of a slow build-up of bio-film, caused by the infrequent operation of the valve.
  • Recommendations to change the valve type for this particular purpose, to one better suited for infrequent use, were made.
  • Solenoid valve
    Solenoid valve
    Model section of valve
    Model section of valve

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