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A resistance-welded chain link made from 16 mm diam 4615 steel failed while lowering a 9070 kg load of billets into a rail car after being in service for 13 months. Beach marks, typical of fatigue were found to have originated at the inside of the link which broke at the weld. Cracks in the weld zone (up to 1.2 mm deep) were revealed during metallographic examination of a section through the fracture surface. The cracks were filled with scale which indicated that they had formed during resistance welding of the link. The defect was thus attributed to the weld defects which initiated the fatigue failure by acting as stress raisers. The welding method was changed by the manufacturer and all chains were replaced with defect free chains.

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