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Two fuel injection pump gears that were nitrided in a cyanide bath were submitted by the engine manufacturer for examination of hardness distribution and failure analysis. The gears showed signs of wear after only comparatively brief operation. They were made of normalized unalloyed steel C 45 (Material No. 1.0503) according to DIN 17200 and were normalized. Gear 1 with 1905 h of operation showed at one side pittings on both flanks of the teeth as well as incipient fractures. Gear 2 with 1713 h of operation also showed at one side incipient fractures of the nitride layers at the outer part of the teeth. The nitride layer did not stand up to the high and one-sided compressive stress applied in this case and could not prevent pitting. It could even have accelerated the wear by the incipient break down. Gas nitriding at greater depth under application of a suitable special steel or case hardening would have been better under these circumstances.

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