Fracture of a Cross on a Church Steeple
A cross crowned by a gilded cock on a church steeple hung in a slanted position from its support after a stormy night. Fracture had occurred on the shaft of the cross which was formed by a seamless steel tubing of 60 mm OD and 2.7 mm wall thickness. The fracture had not occurred at the point of highest stress, but approximately 200 mm above it. A bell-shaped sheet metal cap was welded onto the shaft at this point. The tubing had fractured about 10 mm under this weld seam. The steel of the shaft tubing contained only 0.033P and 0.004N, and thus was not considered prone to brittle fracture or unsuitable for welded structures. Investigation showed the design of the cross was an unfortunate mistake. If the bell-shaped cap was really essential it should have been fastened by means other than welding. Furthermore, the welding was done poorly after an initial aborted attempt. This was the primary cause of fracture.
Friedrich Karl Naumann, Ferdinand Spies, Fracture of a Cross on a Church Steeple, ASM Failure Analysis Case Histories: Buildings, Bridges, and Infrastructure, ASM International, 2019, https://doi.org/10.31399/asm.fach.bldgs.c9001205
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