Fatigue Fracture of a Carbon Steel Wiper Spring Because of Stress Concentration at a Sharp Corner
Grease-wiper springs for cams formed from stampings of 0.25-mm thick carbon spring steel (0.65 to 0.80% C) fractured at the 0.025 mm radius on the stamped 135 deg corner at a 90 deg bend after 5,000,000 cycles. Tool marks 2 to 2.3 mm from the center of the stamped bend were disclosed by visual examination. Fatigue striations originating from cracks at the 0.025 mm radius inside corner at the bend were revealed by SEM of the fractured surface. The maximum stress at the bend, in stock of maximum thickness and as a function of the radius of the 135 deg corner, was indicated by stress calculations to be very close to the maximum allowable fluctuating stress for the material. The wiper springs were concluded to be fractured in fatigue and the cyclic loading resulted from cam rotation. The maximum applied stress approached the allowable limit due to high stress-concentration factor in the spring (caused by the very small inside radius). The corner radius was increased to 0.76 mm and the tools were re-polished to avoid tool marks.