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The A2 tool steel mandrel, part of a rolling tool used for mechanically joining two tubes was fractured after making five rolled joints. A 6.4 mm diam hole was drilled by EDM through the square end of the hardened mandrel due to difficulty was experienced in withdrawing the tool. The fracture progressed into the threaded section and formed a pyramid-shape fragment after it was initiated at approximately 45 deg through the hole in the square end. An irregular zone of untempered martensite with cracks radiating from the surface of the hole (result of melting around hole) was revealed by metallographic examination. A microstructure of fine tempered martensite containing some carbide particles was exhibited by the core material away from the hole. Brittle fracture characteristics with beach marks were exhibited by the fracture surfaces which is characteristic of a torsional fatigue fracture. As a corrective measure, the hole through the square end of the mandrel was incorporated into the design of the tool and was drilled and reamed before heat treatment and specified hardness of the threaded portion and square end of the mandrel was reduced.

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Fatigue Fracture of a Rolling-Tool Mandrel Initiated at Cracks Formed by Machining of a Hole, ASM Failure Analysis Case Histories: Machine Tools and Manufacturing Equipment, ASM International, 2019,

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