Poor Alloy Selection as a Cause of Failure
Induction-hardened teeth on a sprocket cast of low-alloy steel wore at an unacceptably high rate. A surface hardness of 50 to 51 HRC was determined; 55 HRC minimum had been specified. Analysis revealed that the alloy content of the steel was adequate for the desired hardenability but that the specified carbon content (0.29%) was too low. The low specified carbon content resulted in unacceptably low hardness. Because hardness largely controls wear rate, an early failure occurred. The specification for this part was changed so that a higher carbon content (0.45% C) was required.