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The fractured end of a piston rod of a hydraulic press failed in line with the leading face of the piston retaining nut. Although the nut apparently had been seated uniformly, the face was polished, indicating that relative movement between it and the piston had taken place. Failure resulted from the culmination of two principal fatigue cracks which developed on approximately parallel planes from the roots of adjacent threads. A longitudinal section through the screw thread on the piston rod showed it had been carburized but not hardened, and that subsequent surface de-carburization to a depth of approximately 0.001 in. had occurred. It was concluded that insufficient tightening, as evidenced by the polish markings, was the main reason for failure, the portion of the rod therefore being subjected to a greater variation of cyclic stress during operation. The presence of the de-carburized layer lowered its resistance to the initiation of a fatigue crack to that of iron, considerably less than the resistance of the mild steel from which the rod was made and well below that shown by the carburized layer.

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