Failure of a Cast Conveyor Chain Link
The conveyor chain link failed by fracturing through a fabrication weld after some time in service. The link was made of cast low-alloy steel heat treated to a hardness of 285 HRB. The fabrication weld was made using E7018 electrodes. The fracture surfaces were almost entirely covered with beach marks, indicating fatigue cracking. The beach marks emanated from a 6.4 mm (1/4 in.) wide band of unusual appearance running across the center of the fracture. Saw cuts were made perpendicular to both of the fracture surfaces and across the unusual-looking bands. The cut surfaces were ground and etched with ammonium persulfate solution revealing that complete penetration had not been achieved at the weld root. The band observed in the fracture was apparently part of the unfused weld-preparation surface at the root of the weld. This failure was caused by fatigue that initiated at an incomplete penetration defect at the root of the fabrication weld. As a result of this failure, steps were taken to ensure that good welding practice (back-gouging) would be followed in the future fabrication of these links.