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A forged 4140 steel shaft that connected two runners in a hydroturbine failed catastrophically after approximately 5900 h of service. The runner and the mating section of the broken shaft were examined and tested by various methods. The results of the analyses indicated that the shaft failed by torsional fatigue starting at subsurface crack initiation sites. The forging contained regions of crack like flaws associated with particles rich in chromium, manganese, and iron. Fracture features indicated that the fatigue cracks propagated under a relatively low stress.

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