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The repeated occurrence of random cracks in the fillet radius portion of low-alloy steel (38KhA) end frame forgings following heat treatment was investigated. Microstructural analyses were carried out on both the failed part and disks of the rolled bar from which the part was made. Subsurface cracks were found to be zigzag and discontinuous as well as intergranular in nature. A mixed mode of fracture involving ductile and brittle flat facets was observed. Micropores and rod-shaped manganese sulfide inclusions were also noted. The material had a hydrogen content of 22 ppm, and cracking was attributed to hydrogen embrittlement. Measurement of hydrogen content in the raw material prior to fabrication was recommended. Careful control of acid pickling procedures for descaling of the hot-rolled bars was also deemed necessary.

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A.K. Das, Hydrogen Embrittlement Cracking in a Batch of Steel Forgings, Handbook of Case Histories in Failure Analysis, Vol 2, Edited By Khlefa A. Esaklul, ASM International, 1993, p 532–534,

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