Failure of a High-Speed Steel Twistdrill
The failure of a high speed steel twist drill which caused injury to the user was investigated thoroughly to settle a legal suit. The drill was being used to remove a stud that broke in the vertical wall of a metalworking machine (upsetter) after drilling a pilot hole. The drill had shattered suddenly with a bang which caused a chip to be dislodged and cause the injury. A large nonmetallic inclusion parallel to the axis near the center of the drill was revealed in an unetched longitudinal section. Carbide bands in a martensitic matrix were indicated in an etched sample. It was concluded by the plaintiff's metallurgist that the failed drill was defective as the steel contained nonmetallic inclusions and carbide segregation which made it brittle. It was revealed by the defendant that the twist drill met all specifications of M1 high-speed steel and investigated several other drills without failure to prove that the failure was caused by use in excessive conditions. It was revealed by examination that the point of the broken drill was not the original point put on at manufacture but came from regrinding. Both technical and legal details have been discussed.