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The head of a socket spanner made of heat-treated 0.40C-0.34Cr steel cracked in service. The pronounced fibrous structure of the component became evident as soon as it was etched with 2% nital. Folds in the material originating from the shaping process were visible, and the micrograph showed that cracks ran along these folds oriented according to the fiber. The fissures, with the exception of the hardening crack, were partly filled with oxide and showed signs of decarburization at the edges. From this it could be assumed that parts of the external skin had been forced into the folds during forging. This evidence supported the conclusion that even through there was some indication of chemical segregation, the folds made during forging initiated the main crack. Furthermore, even if the steel had been more homogeneous, hardening cracks would probably have been promoted by the coarse fissures at the fold zones.

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