Improper Modifications and Repairs
A large shackle used in operating a dragline bucket failed in service. The shackle was made of a cast low-alloy steel (similar to AISI 4320) heat treated to a hardness of 415 BN. The shackle failed by fracturing through the load-bearing region. Examination of the fracture surface revealed a fatigue crack through about one-third of the cross section. A secondary fatigue crack, perpendicular to the main fracture, was also observed. The composition of the weld deposit corresponded to a heat treatable flux-cored arc welding filler material that was known to have been used for repair welding of these products. This shackle failed because of fatigue initiating at hydrogen cracks that had occurred in the HAZ of a repair weld. The weld had been made with a heat-treatable filler material, and a full postweld heat treatment had been performed. However, a low-hydrogen filler material had not been used to make the weld. Repair welds in high-strength steel castings should always be made with low-hydrogen filler materials.