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A number of failures involving carbon and alloy steels were analyzed to assess the effects of inclusions and their influence on mechanical properties. Inclusions, including brittle oxides and more ductile manganese sulfides (MnS), affect fatigue endurance limit, fatigue crack propagation rates, fracture toughness, notch toughness, and transverse tensile properties, and do so in an anisotropic manner with respect to rolling direction. Significant property anisotropy has been documented in the failures investigated, providing evidence that designers failed to account for it. Typical fracture morphologies observed in such cases and metallographic appearances of MnS-containing materials are illustrated.

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