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The gear of a spiral bevel gear set broke into three pieces after about two years of service. The gear (made of 4817 steel) broke along the root of a tooth intersected by three of the six 22-mm diam holes used to mount the gear to a hub. Fatigue progression for about 6.4 mm at the acute-angle intersections of three mounting holes with the root fillets of three teeth was revealed by examination of gear. Cracks at the intersections of the remaining three mounting holes and the adjacent tooth-root fillets were revealed by magnetic-particle inspection. Through hardening at the acute-angle intersections of the mounting holes and tooth-root fillets was revealed by metallographic examination. Design of the gear and placement of the mounting holes, which resulted in through hardening, were concluded to be the contributing factors to the fatigue failure of the gear.

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