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A controllable pitch propeller (CPP) on a dynamic positioning ship failed after eight months of operation. The CPP design consists of a hollow propeller shaft and a concentrically located pipe that operates inside. The pitch of the propeller blades is controlled hydraulically through the longitudinal displacement of the inner (concentric) pipe. Fractography, microstructural, microhardness, and chemical analyses revealed that the concentric pipe failed due to fatigue. Fatigue cracks initiated along longitudinal welds where wire spacers attach to the external surface of the pipe. The effect of crack-like defects, stress concentration at the weld toe, residual tensile stress, and lack of penetration contributed to a shorter fatigue crack initiation phase and premature failure.

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