Fatigue Fracture of a Sand-Cast Steel Axle Housing That Originated at a Hot Tear
A sand-cast medium-carbon steel heavy-duty axle housing, which had been quenched and tempered to about 30 HRC, fractured after almost 5000 h of service. Investigation (0.4x magnification) revealed that the fracture had been initiated by a hot tear that formed during solidification of the casting. The mass of a feeder-riser system located near the tear retarded cooling in this region, creating a hot spot. This supported the conclusion that the tear causing the fracture of the axle housing was formed during solidification by hindered contraction and was enlarged in service by fatigue. Recommendations were to change the feeder location to eliminate the hot spot and thus the occurrence of hot tearing.