A spiral bevel gear set in the differential housing of a large front-end loader moving coal in a storage area failed in service. The machine had operated approximately 1500 h. Although the failure involved only the pinion teeth, magnetic particle inspection was performed on each part. The 4817 NiMo alloy steel pinion showed no indication of additional cracking, nor did the 4820 NiMo alloy steel gear. The mode of failure was tooth bending fatigue with the origin at the designed position: root radius at midsection of tooth. The load was well centered, and progression occurred for a long period of time. The cause of failure was a suddenly applied peak overload, which initiated a crack at the root radius. Progression continued by relatively low overstress from the crack, which was now a stress-concentration point. This was a classic tooth bending fatigue failure.
Lester E. Alban, Tooth Bending Fatigue Failure of a Spiral Bevel Drive Set, ASM Failure Analysis Case Histories: Construction, Mining, and Agricultural Equipment, ASM International, 2019, https://doi.org/10.31399/asm.fach.conag.c9001497
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