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A stainless steel flexible connector failed after a short period of service. Visual examination of the failed part revealed that a fracture had occurred in the thin-walled stainless steel bellows brazed into the flanges at each end. Surface examination by SEM fractography showed that failure of the bellows occurred via fatigue. The crack in the bellows had widened considerably after the fracture, and the bellows had been severely compressed on the fracture side prior to failure. Based on these observations, it was concluded that bellows had been damaged prior to installation. The damage resulted in high mean tensile stresses upon which were superimposed cyclic stresses, with fatigue failure the final result.

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