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A bearing cup in a drive shaft assembly on an automobile was found to have failed. A detailed analysis was conducted using the QC story approach, which begins by proposing several possible failure scenarios then following them to determine the main root cause. A number of alternative solutions were identified and then validated based on chemical analysis, endurance and hardness tests, and microstructural examination. The investigation revealed that carbonitriding can effectively eliminate the type of failure encountered because it prevents through hardening of the bearing cup assembly.

This article presents a failure analysis of an aluminum cylinder head on an automotive engine. During an endurance test, a crack initiated from the interior wall of a hole in the center of the cylinder head, then propagated through the entire thickness of the component. Metallurgical examination of the crack origin revealed that casting pores played a role in initiating the crack. Stress components, identified by finite element analysis, also played a role, particularly the stresses imposed by the bolt assembly leading to plastic strain. It was concluded that the failure can be prevented by eliminating the bolt hole, using a different type of bolt, or adjusting the fastening torque.

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