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High failure rates in the drive shafts of 40 newly acquired articulated buses was investigated. The drive shafts were fabricated from a low-carbon (0.45%) steel similar to AISI 5046. Investigators examined all 40 buses, discovering six different drive shaft designs across the fleet. All of the failures, a total of 14, were of the same type of design, which according to finite-element analysis, produces a significantly higher level of stress. SEM examination of the fracture surface of one of the failed drive shafts revealed fatigue striations near the OD and ductile dimpling near the ID, evidence of high-cycle fatigue. Based on the failure rate and fatigue life predictions, it was recommended to discontinue the use of drive shafts with the inferior design.

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