Fatigue Failures of Shafts Repaired by Welding
An intermediate shaft (3 in. diam), part of a camshaft drive on a large diesel engine, broke after two weeks of service. Failure occurred at the end of the taper portion adjacent to the screwed thread. The irregular saw-tooth form of fracture was characteristic of failure from torsional fatigue. A second shaft carried as spare gear was fitted and failure took place in a similar manner in about the same period of time. Examination revealed that the tapered portion of the Fe-0.6C carbon steel shaft had been built up by welding prior to final machining. A detailed check by the engine-builder established that the manufacture of these two shafts had been subcontracted. It was ascertained that the taper portions had been machined to an incorrect angle and then subsequently built-up and remachined to the correct taper. The reduction in fatigue endurance following welding was due to heat-affected zone cracking, residual stresses, the lower fatigue strength of the weld deposited metal, and weld defects.