Fatigue Fracture of a Cast Chromium-Molybdenum Steel Pinion
A cast countershaft pinion on a car puller for a blast furnace broke after one month of service; expected life was 12 months. The pinion was specified to be made of 1045 steel heat treated to a hardness of 245 HRB. The pinion steel was analyzed and was a satisfactory alternative to 1045 steel. The pinion was annealed before flame or induction hardening of the teeth to a surface hardness of 363 HRB and a core hardness of 197 HRB. The broken pinion had a tooth which had failed by fatigue fracture through the tooth root because of the low strength from incomplete surface hardening of the tooth surfaces. Contributing factors included uneven loading because of misalignment and stress concentrations in the tooth roots caused by tool marks. Greater strength was provided by oil quenching and tempering the replacement pinions to a hardness of 255 to 302 HRB. Machining of the tooth roots was revised to eliminate all tool marks. Surface hardening was applied to all tooth surfaces, including the root. Proper alignment of the pinion was ensured by carefully checking the meshing of the teeth at startup.