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An AISI 9260 steel railroad spike maul failed after a relatively short period of service. The maul head fractured in two pieces when struck against a rail. Visual, fractographic, metallographic, and chemical analyses were conducted on sections taken from the maul head, which was found to have fractured across both sides of the eye. Failure occurred in at least three separate events: formation of two cracks immediately adjacent to the eye, extension of one of the original cracks over a portion of one of the eye sides, and abrupt extension of the original crack across the eye sides, resulting in separation into two halves.

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Carmine D'Antonio, Fracture of a Spike Maul, Handbook of Case Histories in Failure Analysis, Vol 2, Edited By Khlefa A. Esaklul, ASM International, 1993, p 367–369,

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