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A cast steel bracket manufactured in accordance with ASTM A 148 grade 135/125 steel failed in railroad maintenance service. Ancillary property requirements included a 285 to 331 HB hardness range and minimum impact energy of 27 J (20 ft·lbf) at -40 deg C (-40 deg F). The conditions at the time of failure were characterized as relatively cold. Investigation (visual inspection, chemical analysis, and unetched 119x and 2% nital etched 119x SEM images) supported the conclusion that the bracket failed through brittle overload fracture due to a number of synergistic factors. The quenched-and-tempered microstructure contained solidification shrinkage, inherently poor...

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