Failure of an Oil Engine Connecting Rod Arising from a Deposit of Weld Metal
One of the connecting rods of a vertical, four-cylinder engine with a cylinder diameter of 5 in. failed by fatigue cracking just below the gudgeon-pin boss. Failure took place in line with the lower edge of a deposit of weld metal. The fracture surface was smooth, conchoidal, and characteristic of that resulting from fatigue. The origin of the major crack was associated with a crescent-shaped area immediately below the weld deposit. This showed brittle fracture characteristics and appeared to be an initial crack that occurred at the time of welding and from which the fatigue crack subsequently developed. The rod was made from a medium carbon or low-alloy steel in the hardened and fully tempered condition. Evidence indicated that, following modification to the oil feed system, the rod that broke was returned to service with fine cracks present immediately below the weld deposit, which served as the starting points of the fatigue cracks. Following this accident, the remaining three rods (which had been modified in a similar manner) were replaced as a precautionary measure.