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A structure had been undergoing fatigue testing for several months when a post-like member heat treated to a tensile strength of 1517 to 1655 MPa (220 to 240 ksi) ruptured. The fracture occurred in the fillet of the post that contacted the edge of a carry-through box bolted to the member. At failure, the part was receiving a second set of loads up to 103.6% of design load. Visual investigations showed rubbing and galling of the fillet. Microscopic and metallographic examination revealed beach marks on the fracture surface and evidence of cold work and secondary cracking in the rubbed and galled area. Electron fractography confirmed that cracking had initiated at a region of tearing and that the cracks had propagated by fatigue. Mechanical properties of all specimens exceeded the minimum values specified for the post. This evidence supports the conclusion that fatigue was the primary cause of failure. Rubbing of the faying surfaces worked the interference area on the post until small tears developed. These small tears became stress-concentration points that nucleated fatigue cracks. Recommendations included rounding the edge of the box in the area of contact with the post to ensure a tangency fit.

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Fatigue Fracture of a D-6ac Steel Structural Member at the Line of Contact With Another Member, ASM Failure Analysis Case Histories: Design Flaws, ASM International, 2019,

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