Fractured Three-Cylinder Crankshaft
The fracture cause had to be determined in a three-cylinder crankshaft made of chrome steel 34Cr4 (Material No. 1.7033) according to DIN 17200. The fracture occurred after only 150 h of operation. The fracture was of the bend fatigue type which originated in the fillet of the main bearing and ran across the jaw almost to the opposite fillet of the adjoining connecting rod bearing. The fillet was well rounded and smoothly machined. Thus, no reason for the fracture of the crankshaft could be found externally. No material defects were discernible in the origin or anywhere else. No cause for the crank fracture could be established from material testing. Probably the load was too high for the strength of the crank. Tensile strength could have been increased for the same material by tempering at lower temperature. Additionally, the resistance against high bend fatigue stresses or torsion fatigue stresses could have been increased substantially by including the fillet in the case hardening process.