Fracture of Teeth in an Oil-Pump Gear Because Ductility Was Inadequate for Shock Loading in Service
Two oil-pump gears broke after four months of service in a gas compressor that operated at 1000 rpm and provided a discharge pressure of 7240 kPa (1050 psi). The compressor ran intermittently with sudden starts and stops. The large gear was sand cast from class 40 gray iron with a tensile strength of 290 MPa (42 ksi) at 207 HRB. The smaller gear was sand cast from ASTM A536, grade 100-70-03, ductile iron with a tensile strength of 696 MPa (101 ksi) at 241 HRB. Analysis (metallographic examination) supported the conclusion that excessive beam loading and a lack of ductility in the gray iron gear teeth were the primary causes of fracture. During subsequent rotation, fragments of gray iron damaged the mating ductile iron gear. Recommendations included replacing the large gear material with ASTM A536, grade 100-70-03, ductile iron normalized at 925 deg C (1700 deg F), air cooled, reheated to 870 deg C (1600 deg F), and oil quenched. The larger gear should be tempered to 200 to 240 HRB, and the smaller gear to 240 to 280 HRB.