Fatigue Fracture of 4520 Steel Wheel Studs
Each of the ten studs on one wheel of a semitrailer used to haul coal broke in half while the trailer was in operation. Both halves of each of three studs were sent to the laboratory to determine the cause of failure. Visual examination of the fracture surfaces of the studs disclosed beach marks, indicative of fatigue cracking, starting at opposite sides of each stud, with final fracture occurring across the stud. Each failure occurred in the first thread of the stud. It was concluded that the wheel studs fractured by reversed-bending fatigue. To minimize the possibility of a recurrence, the wheel nuts were tightened with an air impact wrench to a torque of 610 to 678 J (450 to 500 ft · lb) dry. All wheel studs were checked at normal maintenance periods to ensure uniform and proper loading, and no further failures occurred.