Wear Failure of a 4140 Steel Bolt Because of Low Hardness
The bolt in a bolt and thimble assembly used to connect a wire rope to a crane hanger bracket was worn excessively. Two worn bolts, one new bolt, and a new thimble were examined. Specifications required the bolts to be made of 4140 steel heat treated to a hardness of 277 to 321 HRB. Thimbles were to be made of cast 8625 steel, but no heat treatment or hardness were specified. Analysis (visual inspection, hardness testing, and metallographic examination) supported the conclusion that the wear was due to strikingly difference hardness measurements in the bolt and thimble. Recommendations included hardening and tempering the bolts to the hardness range of 375 to 430 HRB. The thimbles should be heat treated to a similar microstructure and the same hardness range as those of the bolt. Molybdenum disulfide lubricant can be liberally applied during the initial installation of the bolts. A maintenance lubrication program was not suggested, but galling could be reduced by periodic application of a solid lubricant.