Diesel-Engine Crankshaft That Fractured in Fatigue Because of Subsurface Inclusions
A 1050 steel crankshaft with 6.4 cm (2.5 in.) diam journals that measured 87 cm (34.25 in.) in length and weighed 31 kg (69 lb) fractured in service. The shaft had been quenched and tempered to a hardness of 19 to 26 HRC, then selectively hardened on the journals to a surface hardness of 40 to 46 HRC. Visual inspection and 100x micrographs showed the fracture surface as having a complex type of fatigue failure initiated from subsurface inclusions in the transition zone between the induction-hardened surface and the softer core. The fractured shaft was examined for chemical composition and hardness, both of which were found to be within prescribed limits. This evidence supports the conclusions that the failure was caused by fatigue cracks that initiated in an area having an excessive amount of inclusions. The inclusions were located in a transition zone, which is a region of high stress. No recommendations were made.