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The shaft of an exciter that was used with a diesel-driven electric generator broke at a fillet after ten hours of service following resurfacing of the shaft by welding. The fracture surface contained a dull off-center region of final ductile fracture surrounded by regions of fatigue that had been subjected to appreciable rubbing. The fracture appeared to be typical of rotary bending fatigue under conditions of a low nominal stress with a severe stress concentration. It appeared that the fatigue cracks initiated in the surface-weld layer. The weld deposit in the original keyway displays a lack of fusion at the bottom corner. Fatigue fracture of the shaft resulted from stresses that were created by vibration acting on a crack or cracks formed in the weld deposit because of the lack of preheating and postheating. Rebuilding of exciter shafts should be discontinued, and the support plate of the exciter should be braced to reduce the amount of transmitted vibration. Also, the fillet in the exciter shaft should be carefully machined to provide an adequate radius.

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