Failure analysis of a high-speed pinion shaft
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The failure of a high-speed pinion shaft from a marine diesel engine was investigated. The shaft, which had been in service for more than 30 years, failed shortly after a service operation in which the bearings were replaced. Examination of the shaft revealed cyclic fatigue as the failure mechanism, with a substantial distribution of nonmetallic inclusions near the fracture initiation site. Fracture mechanics analysis indicated that the inclusions would be unlikely to have served as failure initiation sites if only stresses acting on the shaft were induced by normal service loads. Further examination of the bearing elements revealed an abnormal wear pattern, consistent with the application of elevated bending loads to the shaft after bearing replacement. The root cause of failure was determined to be an increase in service stresses after bearing replacement along with the presence of significant nonmetallic inclusions in the pinion shaft.
Keywordsfatigue fatigue crack growth analysis fracture mechanics in failure analysis shaft failure
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