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The structural collapse of an iron-ore bucket-wheel stacker reclaimer at the beginning of operation was investigated by means of mechanical tests, microstructural characterization, and computational structural analysis. The mechanical failure was a consequence of a brittle fracture by cleavage. The crack followed the heat-affected zone of a welded joint connecting a rectangular hollow section member and a plate flange. The main factors contributing to failure were related with a combination of design-in and manufacturing-in factors like high load-strength ratio at the point of failure, local stress concentration as a result of geometry restrictions, and weld defects. This particular section...

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