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Mechanical properties of wire ropes, their chemical composition, and the failure analysis process for them are described. The wires are manufactured from high-carbon, plain carbon steel, with high-strength ropes most often manufactured from AISI Grade 1074. During visual failure examination, the rope, strand, and wire diameters should all be measured. Examination should also address the presence or absence of lubricant, corrosion evidence, and gross mechanical damage. Failed wires can exhibit classic cup-and-cone ductile features, flat fatigue features, and various appearances in-between. However, wires are often mechanically damaged after failure. Most nondestructive evaluation (NDE) techniques are not applicable to wire rope failures. Electron microscope fractography of fracture surfaces is essential in failure analysis. Fatigue is the most important fracture mode in wire ropes. Metallographic features of wire ropes that failed because of ductile overload and fatigue are described.

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Brett A. Miller, Failure Analysis of Wire Rope, ASM Failure Analysis Case Histories: Material Handling Equipment, ASM International, 2019,

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