Failure of a Structural Bolt Due to Reversed-Bending Fatigue
A portion of a 19 mm (0.75 in.) diam structural steel bolt was found on the floor of a manufacturing shop. This shop contained an overhead crane system that ran on rails supported by girders and columns. Inspection of the crane system revealed that the bolt had come from a joint in the supporting girders and could be considered one of the principal fasteners in the track system. Analysis (visual inspection, metallographic exam, and hardness testing) supported the conclusions that fatigue induced by the overhead movement of the crane produced failure of the bolt. The bolt was deficient in strength for the cyclic applied loads in this case and probably was not tightened sufficiently. Recommendations included removing the remaining bolts in the crane support assembly and replacing them with a higher-strength, more fatigue-resistant bolt, for example, SAE grade F, 104 to 108 HRB. The bolts should be tightened according to the specifications of the manufacturer, and the system should be periodically inspected for correct tightness.