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Following a freight train derailment, part of a fractured side frame was retained for study because a portion of its fracture surface exhibited a rock candy appearance and black scale. It was suspected of having failed, thereby precipitating the derailment. Metallography, scanning electron microscopy, EDXA, and x-ray mapping were used to study the steel in the vicinity of this part of the fracture surface. It was found to be contaminated with copper. Debye-Scherrer x-ray diffraction patterns obtained from the scale showed that it consisted of magnetite and hematite. It was concluded that some copper was accidentally left in the...

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