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The crankshaft of a 37.5-hp, 3-cylinder oil engine was examined. The engine had been dismantled for the purpose of a general overhaul and in the course of this work the crankpins were chromium-plated before regrinding. The engine was returned to service and after running for 290 h the crankshaft broke at the junction of the No. 3 crankpin and the crankweb nearest to the flywheel. A typical fatigue crack had originated at a number of points in the root of the fillet to the web. In its early stages it ran slightly into the web but turned back to the pin when it encountered the oil hole. The shaft had been made from a heat-treated alloy steel. The thickness of the plating was approximately 0.025 in. and numerous cracks were visible in it, several of which had given rise to cracks in the steel below. The primary cause of the crankshaft failure was the plating of the crankpins. The presence of the grooves alone would result in considerable intensification of stress in zones which are normally highly stressed, while the crazy cracking introduced a multiplicity of stress-raisers of a type almost ideal from the point of view of initiating fatigue cracks.

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Fatigue Failure of a Chromium-Plated Crankshaft, ASM Failure Analysis Case Histories: Improper Maintenance, Repair, and Operating Conditions, ASM International, 2019,

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