Cracked Bearing Caps Made of Cast Iron
Cast iron bearing caps in tractor engines fractured repeatedly after only short operating periods. The fracture originated in a cast-in groove and ran approximately radially to the shaft axis. The smallest cross section was at the point of fracture. The core structure of the caps consisted of graphite in pearlitic-ferritic matrix. Casting stresses did not play a decisive role because of the simple shape of the pieces that were without substantial cross sectional variations. Two factors exerted an unfavorable effect in addition to comparatively low strength. First, the operating stress was raised locally by the sharp-edged groove, and second, the fracture resistance of the cast iron was lowered at this critical point by the existence of a ferritic bright border. To avoid such damage in the future it was recommended to observe one or more of the following precautions: 1) Eliminate the grooves; 2) Remove the ferritic bright border; 3) Avoid undercooling in the mold and therefore the formation of granular graphite; 4) Inoculate with finely powdered ferrosilicon into the melt for the same purpose; and, 5) Anneal at lower temperature or eliminate subsequent treatment in consideration of the uncomplicated shape of the castings.
Friedrich Karl Naumann, Ferdinand Spies, Cracked Bearing Caps Made of Cast Iron, ASM Failure Analysis Case Histories: Construction, Mining, and Agricultural Equipment, ASM International, 2019, https://doi.org/10.31399/asm.fach.conag.c9001198
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