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Hydraulic cylinder housings were being fabricated from 4140 grade seamless steel tubing. During production, magnetic-particle inspection indicated the presence of circumferential and longitudinal cracks in a large number of cylinders. Analysis (visual inspection, dye penetrant inspection, 50x/90x/400x SEM micrographs, and metallographic analysis) supports the conclusion that the cracking problem in these components was identified as quench cracks due to their brittle, intergranular nature and the characteristic temper oxide on the fracture surfaces. Although the steel met the compositional requirements of SAE 4140, the sulfur level was 0.022% and would account for the formation of the sulfide stringers observed. Apparently,...

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