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A stainless steel screw securing an orthopedic implant fractured and was analyzed to determine the cause. Investigators used optical and scanning electron microscopy to examine the fracture surfaces and the microstructure of the austenitic stainless steel from which the screw was made. The results of the study indicated that the screw failed due to fatigue fracture stemming from surface cracks generated by stress concentration likely caused by grooves left by improper machining.

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