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Rollover accidents in light trucks and cars involving an axle failure frequently raise the question of whether the axle broke causing the rollover or did the axle break as a result of the rollover. Axles in these vehicles are induction hardened medium carbon steel. Bearings ride directly on the axles. This article provides a fractography/fracture mechanic approach to making the determination of when the axle failed. Full scale tests on axle assemblies and suspensions provided data for fracture toughness in the induction hardened outer case on the axle. These tests also demonstrated that roller bearing indentions on the axle...

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