Premature failure of steel gantry crane wheels
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A metallurgical failure analysis was performed on a set of carbon steel gantry crane wheels following observation of excessive damage to the central tread surfaces. Rolling contact fatigue was considered as a possible failure mechanism due to the presence of what appeared to be spalling. Metallographic evaluation and hardness testing revealed that portions of the wheel tread surface had not reached the specified case hardness during heat treatment, leaving the tread surface edges in a near normalized condition. Continual contact with the rail during service allowed for plastic flow of the softer materials across the surface, resulting in the observed damage.
Keywordsflame hardening heat treatment failure rolling contact spalling wear
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