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After being in service for ten years the ball-and-race coal pulverizer was investigated after noises were noted in it. Its lower grinding ring was attached to the 6150 normalized steel outer main shaft while the upper grinding ring was suspended by springs from a spider attached to the shaft. A circumferential crack in the main shaft at an abrupt change in shaft diam just below the upper radial bearing was revealed by visual examination. The smaller end of the shaft was found to be slightly eccentric with the remainder when the shaft was set up in a lathe to machine out the crack for repair welding. The crack was opened by striking the small end of the shaft and the shaft was broken 1.3 cm away from the crack in the process. A previous fracture that resulted from torsional loading acting along a plane of maximum shear was revealed almost perpendicular to the axis of the shaft. Faint lines parallel to the visible crack thought to be fatigue cracks were revealed on examination of the machined surface. The shaft was repaired by welding a new section and machined to required diameters and tapers to avoid abrupt changes.

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Fatigue Fracture of a 6150 Steel Main Shaft in a Coal Pulverizer, ASM Failure Analysis Case Histories: Power Generating Equipment, ASM International, 2019,

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