Metallurgical failure analysis of fasteners in an impeller assembly
This paper examines a failure analysis of the bolts from a failed joint between an impeller blade and a rotating assembly unit. The bolts failed due to poor thread manufacture and installation. Sharpened thread roots led to high stress concentrations that favored crack initiation. An oddly shaped thread profile allowed friction between mismatched thread surfaces. Poor installation procedures allowed for the possibility of overtightening to nucleate cracks in the head-to-shank interface (which had a smaller radius and therefore a higher stress concentration) and possibly also in the thread roots. Each of these influences contributed to crack initiation in the bolts. After cracks had formed, bending fatigue then propagated the nucleated cracks to final fracture. The failure analysis also recommended using bolts with rolled threads, which allow a more complete fit between mating male and female threads, and assuring that an appropriate preload is placed on bolts during installation.
Keywordsaustenitic stainless steel EDS fasteners fatigue failure fractography metallography SEM
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