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An investigation was conducted to determine what caused a bearing sleeve in a locomotive turbocharger to fail. The sleeve, which is made of nitrided 38CrMoAl steel, fractured at the transition fillet between the cylinder and plate. Visual examination revealed significant wear on the external surface of the cylinder, with multiple origin fatigue fracture appearing to be the dominant fracture mechanism. Metallurgical examination indicated that the nitrided layer was not as deep as it was supposed to be and had worn away on the outer surface of the sleeve, exposing the soft matrix underneath. This led to further wear and an increase in friction between the sleeve and bearing bush. Fatigue crack initiation occurred at the root fillet because of stress concentration and large frictional forces. Insufficient nitriding depth facilitated the propagation of fatigue cracks.

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