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An AISI 4320 H transfer gear shaft that was part of a transmission sustained severe surface damage after 12 h of dynamometer testing at various gearing and torque loads. The damage was characterized by generalized wear and spalling. Examination of a cross section of the shaft that intersected undamaged, burnished, and surface-spalled zones revealed no anomalies in the chemistry, microstructure, or hardness that could have caused the damage. The physical evidence suggested that the operable mechanism was contact fatigue caused by misalignment of the shaft in the assembly.

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