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Six wrist pins in a high-performance six-cylinder automotive engine failed after 4800 km (3000 mi) of normal operation. The pins were made of low-carbon steel that had been carburized both inside and outside. Two failed pins were examined. One had fractured into three pieces. The other had not fractured, but exhibited circumferential cracks on the surface of the central zone. Visual surface examination and metallographic and chemical analyses were performed on the specimens. Cracking was attributed primarily to poor heat treatment, resulting in a brittle grain-boundary network of cementite, and to a design that had a raised central section of the inner diameter whose fillets were locations of high stress concentration. Rough machining of the inner diameter and an excessively deep case also contributed to failure. A double type of heat treatment after carburizing and change of the design to eliminate the raised central section were recommended.

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W.B.F. Mackay, Failure of Wrist Pins in an Automotive Engine, Handbook of Case Histories in Failure Analysis, Vol 1, Edited By Khlefa A. Esaklul, ASM International, 1992, p 83–84,

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