An AISI 4340 Ni-Cr-Mo alloy steel draw-in bolt and the collet from a vertical-spindle milling machine broke during routine cutting of blind recesses after relatively long service life. Based on fracture surface features, it was suspected that the draw-in bolt was the first to fracture, followed by failure of the collet, which shattered one of its arms when it struck the work table. Scanning electron microscopy showed the presence of hairline crack indications along grain facets on the fracture surface of the bolt. This, coupled with stepwise cracking in the material, generally raised suspicion of hydrogen embrittlement. It appeared that fracture in service progressed transgranularly to produce delayed failure under dynamic loading. The pickling process used to remove heat scale was suspected to be the source of hydrogen on the surface of the bolt. The manufacturer was requested to change its cleaning practice from pickling to grit blasting.
Eli Levy, Hydrogen Embrittlement of a Draw-in Bolt, ASM Failure Analysis Case Histories: Machine Tools and Manufacturing Equipment, ASM International, 2019, https://doi.org/10.31399/asm.fach.machtools.c9001519
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