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A 25 mm (1 in.) diam carrier shaft failed suddenly during operation. The shaft failed near the toe of the 4.8 mm (316 in.) frame-to-shaft 60 deg and 120 deg submerged metal arc (SMA) tack welds after an unknown time in service. Material specifications called for the shaft to be made from SAE 1018 cold-rolled carbon steel. Carrier assembly components were made from type 300 stainless steel, and all nuts, spacers, and washers were to be SMA tack welded to the stainless steel frame. Chemical analyses (OES, SEM/EDS) showed the shaft to actually be made from SAE 1050 high-carbon steel and that a low-carbon steel welding procedure had been used. This resulted in incipient cracks in the stainless steel weld metal near the toes of the component-to-shaft welds. The hardnesses of the heat-affected zones were as high as 58 HRC, and they were grain coarsened. The parting of the shaft was determined to have been caused by an impact failure mechanism, with the origin at the incipient cracks in the weld metal. Additionally, the coarsened heat-affected zones were found to be hydrogen embrittled. The primary cause of the failure was the use of an unspecified material.

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