Fatigue Failure of Excavator Tie-Bars Due to Defective Welds
Tie bars of a dragline excavator each consisted of a rectangular section steel bar to which eye-pieces, to facilitate anchorage, were attached by butt-welds. Failure of one weld in each bar after seven years of service allowed the boom to fall and become extensively damaged. The appearance of the fracture faces of the two welds showed partial-penetration joints. Failure in each bar had taken place through the weld metal. The presence of built-in cracks introduced zones of stress concentration and the fluctuating loads to which the ties were subjected in service served to initiate fatigue cracks. While the partial-penetration type of weld may be tolerated in a component subjected to bending stresses it is undesirable in one that is required to withstand fluctuating tensile stresses.