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A supplementary axle, which was used as an extension to a highway-trailer tractor to increase its load-bearing capacity, failed in service. The rolled steel channel extensions that secured the axle assembly to the tractor main-frame I-beams fractured transversely, with the crack in each instance initiating at a weld that joined the edge of the lower flange to the support bracket casting. The cracks propagated through the flange on each side until the effective cross-sectional area had been reduced sufficiently to bring about sudden and complete fracture of the remaining web and upper flange. Fatigue fracture was caused by a...

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