Failure of Some Electrically Butt-Welded Mild-Steel Chains
Following three similar failures of load chains on manually operated geared pulley-blocks of 1-ton capacity, a portion of one of the chains was obtained for examination. The chain was made of mild steel and the links had been electrically butt-welded at one side. In the case of the sample obtained, the failure in service had resulted from fracture of one of the links in the plane of the weld. Six of the other links in the vicinity showed cracks in the welds in various stages of development. Microscope examination showed a crack in an early stage of development and also from an apparently sound link, the prepared surfaces lying in the planes of the links. This examination revealed that the welds were initially defective. Discontinuities were present in both cases adjacent to the insides of the links, of a type indicative of either inadequate fusion or incomplete expulsion of oxide, etc., at the time of the upset, i.e. the pressing together of the ends of the links to complete the welding. It was evident from the examination that the service failures were due to the use of chain that was initially defective.