Sports and Recreation Equipment
The outer tube, or stem, on a bicycle frame fractured after two years of use. Detailed investigation revealed that the lower stem bearing had been loose for some time and the bottom bearing cup contained many cracks. Metallographic examination of the chromium-plated cup confirmed the brittle nature of the cracks, located along prior austenite boundaries. The failure was attributed to hydrogen embrittlement due to improper manufacturing procedures following chromium plating. The cracking led to looseness in the bearing and consequent scoring, cracking, and overloading of the stem.
A shotgun barrel fabricated from 1138 steel deformed when test firing alternative nontoxic ammunition. The test shells contained soft iron shot, which at 72 HB, is much harder than traditional lead shot (typically 30 to 40 HB). An investigation based on ID and OD profiling supported the conclusion that the iron shot increased stresses in the choke zone of the barrel, causing it to deform. Variations in the amount of bulging were attributed to a lack of uniformity in wall thickness. Recommendations included making the barrel from steel with a higher yield strength, making the barrel walls thicker and more uniform, and/or developing an alternative nontoxic metal shot with a hardness in the range of 30 to 40 HB.