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A forging die in a 250-ton press producing brass valves began to show signs of fatigue after a few thousand hits. By the time it reached 30,000 hits, the die was badly damaged and was submitted for analysis along with one of the last forgings produced. The investigation included visual and macroscopic inspection, metallographic and chemical analysis, SEM imaging, optical profilometry, mechanical property testing, and EDX analysis. The die was made of chromium hot-work tool steel and the forgings were made of CuZn39Pb3 heated to an initial working temperature 700 deg C. The entire surface of the die was covered with fatigue cracks and many fillets had been plastically deformed. Several other types of damage were also observed, including areas of oxidation, corrosion pits, voids, abrasive wear, die adhesion, and thermal fatigue. Fatigue cracking was the primary cause of failure with significant contributions from the other damage mechanisms.

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