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Six ASTM A-574 steel cap screws from a hydraulic coupling failed after 3 months in service. The screws were replacements for smaller-diameter cap screws that had been installed during an outage. Six new cap screws were examined along with the failed screws. Eight fracture locations were identified—three at the head-to-shank fillet, four at the eighth thread root from the cap, and one at the sixth thread root from the cap. Fracture surfaces were examined using a stereomicroscope and SEM, and the fracture mode was shown to be transgranular. EDS on the fracture surfaces showed sulfur and chlorine in the surface deposits. The observations indicated that the screws had failed by fatigue. Insufficient preloading was considered to be the most likely cause of the fatigue cracking. It was recommended that the proper preload on the screws be verified and maintained.

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G. Mark Tanner, Fatigue Failure of Six Cap Screws From a Hydraulic Coupling, Handbook of Case Histories in Failure Analysis, Vol 1, Edited By Khlefa A. Esaklul, ASM International, 1992, p 318–323,

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