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A drawing plant which processed steel wire of designation 105 Cr 2 for ball bearings had losses due to crack formation and wire breakage during drawing. To establish the reason for the breakage, seven fractures were submitted for investigation with contiguous wire segments on both sides of the fracture of 300 mm each. Missing in the lamellar surface structure, with the exception of the remnants of a coarse network, were the pre-eutectically precipitated carbides to be expected in this steel. Surrounding the ferritic region in the surface structure, a ring of lamellar pearlite is seen, which turns into the granular annealed structure towards the core. The described structural phenomena were noted in all of the seven fracture regions. Their intensity always decreased with increasing distance from the fracture. Surface decarburization caused the formation of lamellar pearlite during annealing. This investigation further revealed that the localized decarburization and pearlite formation was present already in the rolled wire in uneven distribution over the entire coil length.

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