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Eight cylinderhead screws cracked after a short running time in motors. They were made of Fe-0.45C-1Cr steel, had rolled threads, were heat treated to 110 kg/sq mm tensile strength, and were electrolytically galvanized. All fractured at the root of the thread. The surfaces of fracture were fine-grained and had not spread by rubbing. Because the screws were electrolytically galvanized, failure resulted from “delayed fracture.” Experience has shown that this type of fracture is seen on production parts made of high-strength steels, which absorbed hydrogen during pickling or during a galvanic surface treatment. Such parts will rupture below the elastic limit during continuous stressing. This often occurs only after the expiration of a certain time period, and preferably at locations of stress concentrations such as changes in cross section or threads. As a rule, the hydrogen cannot be verified analytically because most of it escapes again after prolonged storage at room temperature or short heating at 100 to 200 deg C.

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Friedrich Karl Naumann, Ferdinand Spies, Fractures of Electro-Galvanized Cylinderhead Screws, ASM Failure Analysis Case Histories: Processing Errors and Defects, ASM International, 2019,

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