Two types of chromium-plated hydraulic cylinders failed by cracking on their outer surfaces. In one case, the parts had a history of cracking in the nominally unstressed, as-fabricated condition. In another, cracks were detected after the cylinders were subjected to a pressure impulse test. Both part types were made of 15-5 PH (UNS S15500) precipitation hardening stainless steel. Hydrogen embrittlement cracking was the likely cause of failure for both part types. Cracking of the as-fabricated parts was ultimately prevented by changing the manufacturing procedure to allow for a reheat treatment. For parts that cracked after pressure testing, excessive dimensional changes precluded the inclusion of a reheat treatment as a manufacturing step, and further failure was averted by carefully employing proper machining practices, avoiding abusive machining.
Stuart M. Myron, Hydrogen Embrittled Hydraulic Cylinders, ASM Failure Analysis Case Histories: Processing Errors and Defects, ASM International, 2019, https://doi.org/10.31399/asm.fach.process.c9001520
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