Journal of Failure Analysis and Prevention

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 341–348 | Cite as

Failure Analysis of Failed Wire Rope

  • Madhavarao Krishnadev
  • Maude Larouche
  • V. I. Lakshmanan
  • R. Sridhar
Technical Article---Peer-Reviewed


Failure of an old rope from a stringing lattice transmission towers occurred in winter while the rope was being removed to make way for a new rope. Fracture took place around mid-span. At that time, ambient temperature was −22 °C. Wire rope was in service for nearly 50 years. We were given the mandate to determine the reasons for the fracture of the wire rope and also to suggest measures to prevent such failures from occurring. The study involved laboratory testing (mechanical and metallographic) of representative wire rope samples. The effect of low temperature (from room temperature to −40 °C) on the tensile behavior of wires and wire rope samples was evaluated. In addition, we designed an instrumented impact test to assess the effect of notches, low temperatures and dynamic loading on the fracture behavior; however, no standards were available for direct comparison. Optical metallography was used to judge the extent of corrosion and the nature of microstructure and the cleanliness of the steel. The fracture morphology of broken tensile and impact specimens was carried out using scanning electron microscopy to establish relations between test parameters and fracture modes. Results indicate that considerations have to be given to the occurrence of corrosion, notches, low temperatures, and dynamic loading conditions when replacing wire ropes and this may necessitate the replacement of wire rope earlier than the time dictated by the criterion of 10% loss in breaking strength. Results also indicate that impact testing is a better evaluator of the susceptibility of wire ropes to brittle fracture than tensile tests.


Wire rope Failure Metallography Mechanical testing 


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Copyright information

© ASM International 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Madhavarao Krishnadev
    • 1
  • Maude Larouche
    • 1
  • V. I. Lakshmanan
    • 2
  • R. Sridhar
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Mining, Metallurgical and Materials EngineeringLaval UniversityQuebec CityCanada
  2. 2.Process Research ORTECHMississaugaCanada

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