Failure of Carburized Steel Impeller Drive Gears Due to Pitting and a Wear Pattern
Two intermediate impeller drive gears (made of AMS 6263 steel, gas carburized, hardened, and tempered) exhibited evidence of pitting and abnormal wear after production tests in test-stand engines. The gears were examined for hardness, case depth, and microstructure of case and core. It was found that gear 1 had a lower hardness than specified while the case hardness of gear 2 was found to be within limits. Both the pitting and the wear pattern were revealed to be more severe on gear 1 than on gear 2. Surface-contact fatigue (pitting) of gear 1 (cause of lower carbon content of the carburized case and hence lower hardness) was found to be the reason for failure. It was recommended that the depth of the carburized case on impeller drive gears be increased from 0.4 to 0.6 mm to 0.6 to 0.9 mm to improve load-carrying potential and wear resistance. A minimum case-hardness requirement was set at 81 HRA.