Fatigue Fracture of a Stuffing Box That Originated at the Inner End of a Lubrication Hole
A stuffing box (sand cast from ASTM A 536, grade 60-45-10, ductile iron) began leaking water after two weeks of service. The machine was operating at 326 rpm with a discharge water pressure of 21.4 MPa (3100 psi). Investigation (visual inspection, mechanical analysis, and nital etched 100x magnification) supported the conclusion that the crack initiated at the inner edge of a lubrication hole and had propagated toward both the threaded and flange ends of the casting. An appreciable residual-stress concentration must have been present and caused propagation of the crack. The residual stress might have been caused when a fitting was tightly screwed into the lubrication hole, and it might have been concentrated by notches at the inner end of the hole created when the drill broke through the sidewall to the stuffing box.