Brittle Fracture of a Crane Hook, Initiated at a Pre-existing Fatigue Crack
A hook, which was marked for a safe working load of 2 tons, failed while lifting a load of approximately 35 cwts. Fracture took place at the junction of the shank with the hook portion, at which no fillet radius existed. Except for an annular region round the periphery, which was of a smooth texture, the fracture was brightly crystalline indicative of a brittle failure. Microscopic examination showed the material was a low-carbon steel in the normalized condition; no abnormal features were observed. The basic cause of failure was the presence of a fatigue crack at the change of section where the shank joined the hook portion. To minimize the possibility of fatigue cracking, it was recommended that a generous radius be provided at the change of section.