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The splined shaft (1040 steel, heat treated to a hardness of 44 to 46 HRC and a tensile strength of approximately 1448 MPa, or 210 ksi) from a front-end loader used in a salt-handling area broke after being in service approximately two weeks while operating at temperatures near -18 deg C (0 deg F). During the summer, similar shafts had a service life of 5 to eight months. Examination of the fracture surface showed brittle fatigue cracks, and visual examination of the splines disclosed heavy chatter marks at the root of the spline, with burrs and tears at the...

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