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A steel valve spring meeting Steel-Iron-Test 1570 fractured during the high-stress condition of the operation of its valve. Metallographic examination of a transverse section adjacent to the fracture and a longitudinal section through the crack showed the steel was free of major defects and was of high purity, although a number of minor surface defects such as rolling laps were found. The spring was heat treated and its surface strengthened by shot-peening, but the surface was also decarburized to a depth of approximately 0.03 mm which resulted in a lowering of the surface hardness. The fracture of this valve spring is therefore primarily due to surface defects, and secondly perhaps also to weak surface decarburization. No recommendation resulted from the investigation except to note that comparatively minor effects suffice to cause fractures in highly stressed springs.

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Friedrich Karl Naumann, Ferdinand Spies, Fractured Valve Spring, ASM Failure Analysis Case Histories: Mechanical and Machine Components, ASM International, 2019,

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