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Textile-machine crankshafts forged from 4140 steel fractured transversely on one cheek during one to three years of service. The cause of failure for two forgings (one complete fractured forging and second a section that contained the shorter shaft fracture cheek) was determined. Indication of fatigue failure was revealed by visual examination of the fracture surfaces. Rough grooves from hot trimming of the flash were visible on the surface of the cheeks. The outer face of one cheek of the throw on the forging contained shallow surface folds. Slightly decarburized forged surface was identified around one of the folds and a fatigue crack initiated in the fold and propagated across the cheek. Properties representative of 4140 steel, quenched and tempered to a hardness of 20 to 22 HRC, were observed. Tempered bainite was revealed in the general microstructure. As a corrective measure, the forgings were normalized, hardened and tempered to 28 to 32 HRC before being machined to increase fatigue strength and extremely rough surfaces were removed by careful grinding.

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