Evaluation of a leaf spring failure
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The determination of the point of failure during an accident sequence of a rear leaf spring in a sport utility vehicle is presented in terms of fracture surface analysis and residual-strength estimates. Marks at the scene of the accident pointed to two possibilities for the point of failure: marks in the roadway at the start of the accident sequence and a rock strike near the end of the sequence. Evidence from rust and chemical contamination on the fracture pointed to the spring having been cracked in half prior to the accident. Extensive woody fracture and secondary cracking at the midplane of the spring was evidence for segregation and weakness in the spring. Stress estimates for the effect of both the weakness and prior cracking on the residual strength of the spring revealed reductions in strength of the spring that could produce fracture at the start of the accident sequence. The point of failure of the spring was placed at the start of the accident sequence.
Keywordsfracture mechanics leaf spring failure leaf spring stress analysis woody fracture
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