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A pushrod made by inertia welding two rough bored pieces of bar stock installed in a mud pump fractured after two weeks in service. The flange portion was made of 94B17 steel, and the shaft was made of 8620 steel. It was disclosed by visual examination that the fracture occurred in the shaft portion at the intersection of a 1.3 cm thick wall and a tapered surface at the bottom of the hole. The fatigue crack was influenced by one-way bending stresses initiated at the inner surface and progressed around the entire inner circumference. A heavily decarburized layer was detected on the inner surface of the flange portion and sharp corner was found at the intersection of the sidewall and bottom of the hole. It was concluded that the stress raiser due to the abrupt section change was accentuated by decarburized layer. As a corrective measure, the design of the pushrod was changed to a one-piece forging and circulation of atmosphere during heat treatment was permitted through a hole drilled in the flange end of the rod to avoid decarburization.

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2019. "Bending-Fatigue Fracture of an Inertia-Welded Alloy Steel Pushrod Originating at a Sharp Internal Corner and a Decarburized Surface", ASM Failure Analysis Case Histories: Design Flaws

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