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Spalled fragments from the work rolls of a steel bar straightening machine were received for failure analysis. Visual inspection coupled with optical and scanning electron microscopy were used as the principal analytical techniques for the investigation. Fractographic analysis revealed the presence of a characteristic fatigue crack propagation pattern (beach marks) and radial chevron marks indicating the occurrence of final overload through a brittle intergranular fracture. The collected evidence suggests that surface-initiated cracks propagated by fatigue led to spalling, resulting in severe work roll damage as well as machine downtime and increased maintenance costs.

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