Fracture of a 1040 Steel Fan Shaft Resulting From Use of an Improper Material
The fan drive support shaft, specified to be made of cold-drawn 1040 to 1045 steel, fractured after 2240 miles of service. It was revealed by visual examination of the shaft that the fracture had initiated near the fillet at an abrupt change in shaft diameter. The cracks originated at two locations approximately 180 deg apart on the outer surface of the shaft and propagated toward the center. Features typical of reversed-bending fatigue were exhibited by the fracture. A tensile specimen was machined from the center of the shaft and it indicated much lower yield strength (369 MPa) than specified. It was disclosed by metallographic examination that the microstructure was predominantly equiaxed ferrite and pearlite which indicated that the material was in either the hot-worked or normalized condition. An improvement of fatigue strength of the shaft by the development of a quenched-and-tempered microstructure was recommended.