Brittle Fracture of a Roll-Assembly Sleeve Due to Improper Microstructure
A roll assembly consisting of a forged AISI type 440A stainless steel sleeve shrink fitted over a 4340 steel shaft and further secured with tapered keys on opposite ends was crated and shipped by air. Upon arrival, the sleeve was found to have cracked longitudinally between the keyways. A roll manufacturer had successfully used the above procedure for many years to make them. Analysis (visual inspection; 150x micrograph of sections etched with a mixture of 2 parts HNO3, 2 parts acetic acid, and 3 parts HCI; electron microscopy; and stress testing) supported the conclusion that superficial working of the metal, probably insufficient hot working, produced a microstructure in which the carbide particles were not broken up and evenly distributed. As a result, the grains were totally surrounded with brittle carbide particles. This facilitated the formation of a crack at a fillet in the keyway. Crack growth was rapid once the crack had initiated, causing brittle fracture to occur.