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Four truck cross members intended for use in heavy-duty transport trucks were investigated. Two of the members had cracked on a prototype vehicle and two had been fatigue tested in the laboratory. The cross members were fabricated from SAE 950X plate and consisted of a formed channel section and an internal fillet-welded diaphragm. Sections from each of the cross members were subjected to a complete analysis, including chemical analysis, magnetic particle testing, mechanical testing, scanning electron microscope/fractography, and metallography. The primary mode of failure was found to be fatigue cracking that initiated at the toes of the fillet welds. Secondary fatigue cracking occurred at the torque rod mounting holes. Failure was attributed to cyclic stresses at the weld toes that exceeded the lowered fatigue strength at this location. A design change that eliminated the fillet welds alleviated the problem.

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