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The connecting end of two forged medium-carbon steel rods used in an application in which they were subjected to severe low-frequency loading failed in service. The fractures extended completely through the connecting end. The surface hardness of the rods was found to be lower than specifications. The fractures were revealed to be in areas of the transition regions that had been rough ground to remove flash along the parting line. The presence of beach marks, indicating fatigue failure, was revealed by examination. The fracture origin was confirmed by the location and curvature of beach marks to be the rough ground surface. An incipient crack 9.5 mm along with several other cracks on one of the fractured rods was revealed by liquid penetration examination. Metallographic examination of the fractured rods indicated a banded structure consisting of zones of ferrite and pearlite. It was established that the incipient cracks found in liquid-penetrant inspection had originated at the surface in the banded region, in areas of ferrite where this constituent had been visibly deformed by grinding. Closer control on the microstructure, hardness of the forgings and smooth finish in critical area was recommended.

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