A heat-treated, cadmium-plated AISI 8740 steel bolt broke through the head-to-shank fillet while being handled during assembly. Fractographic and metallographic examination of the bolt traced the cause of failure to quench cracking, which occurred when the part was water cooled following hot heading and prior to the production run. The process chart for hot heading was changed from water quenching to air cooling following the forming operation.
Cadmium-coated type 410 martensitic stainless steel -14 self-drilling tapping screws fractured during retorquing tests within a few weeks after installation. The screws were used to assemble structural steel frames for granite panels that formed the outer skin of a high-rise building. Fractographic and metallographic examination showed that the fractures occurred in a brittle manner from intergranular crack propagation. Laboratory and simulated environmental tests showed that an aqueous environment was necessary for the brittle fracture/cracking phenomenon. The cracks were singular and intergranular with little branching. Secondary subsurface cracks suggested possible hydrogen embrittlement. The 410 screws had been introduced to replace conventional case-hardened carbon steel screws that conform to SAE specification J78. Carbon steel screws had a proven record of acceptable performance for the intended application. It was recommended that use of the 410 screws be discontinued in preference to the case-hardened carbon steel screws.