Prematurely Broken Valve Spring
A valve spring made of 4.1 mm diam wire, designed to withstand 10,000,000 stress cycles, fractured after only 2,000,000 cycles. The surface displayed impressions which indicated it had been treated by shot blasting. The spring has broken in two places. Fracture 1 was a torsional fatigue fracture which has started from a lobe-like surface defect and not, as is usual, from a point on the most highly stressed inner surface. Fracture 2, on the other hand, was a bending fatigue fracture with a starting point on both the inner and the outer surface of the spiral. The objective of the shot blasting, to put the surface into a state of even compressive internal stress, which must first be overcome during subsequent bending and torsional loading before the boundary zone comes under tensile stress, was therefore not realized in this case. On the contrary, the shot blasting led to a state of internal stress which favored fracture of the spring.