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While a tower crane was slewing with a full load of concrete at an 80 ft radius, the operator applied the emergency brake to avert collision with another crane. One of the main square tubular uprights split over a short distance and a number of the adjacent bracings had broken away. Additional cracking had developed along one of the corner welds of the upright. Sections taken through the upright in various planes revealed a laminar defect. The through-thickness crack coincided with one end of the defect. The fracture was therefore due to separation having occurred partially in the plane of the defect. This particular tubular bracing was attached initially to virtually half of the section thickness for a little less than half of its circumference and a zone of intrinsic weakness was introduced. In service, fatigue or corrosion fatigue cracks occurred at the toes of the welds, at the corner of the box section and progressively at other positions. Final and sudden failure occurred under the excessively severe torsional stresses introduced when the emergency brake was applied.

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