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Applied Failure Analysis

Service Training Meeting Guide 002 SESV8002


August 2000

TECHNICAL PRESENTATION

APPLIED FAILURE ANALYSIS


THREADED FASTENERS
THREADED FASTENERS FAILURE
ANALYSIS
MEETING GUIDE SLIDES AND SCRIPT
AUDIENCE
Service, service support and administrative staff personnel who understand the principles of engine and
machine operation, and who are or may be involved in determining root causes of failures of threaded
fasteners.

CONTENT
This presentation describes function, structure, manufacturing, installation, operation and and some root
causes of failures of threaded fasteners.

OBJECTIVES
After learning the information in this presentation, the student will be able to:

1. describe functions, structure and the manufacturing process used to produce fasteners;
2. identify road signs of fastener failure due to fatigue fracture, ductile fracture, impact shearing,
fretting, fretting corrosion and stress corrosion cracking and list possible root causes;
3. identify common fastener problems that may occur in the fastener material, or during forming,
hardening or threading;
4. identify the road signs of fastener failure due to a nut backing off and list possible root causes.

REFERENCES
Threaded Fasteners Applied Failure Analysis Reference Book SEBV0545
Threaded Fasteners Applied Failure Analysis Self-Paced Instruction CD-ROM SEGV8002

PREREQUISITES
AFA STMG 013 Failure Analysis Management
AFA STMG 017 Basic Metallurgy
AFA STMG 014 Principles of Fractures
AFA STMG 015 Principles of Wear

Estimated Time: 3 1/2 Hours


Visuals: 89 electronic images
Student Handout: 1 - Lab Worksheet
Form: SESV8002
Date: 8/2000
© 2000 Caterpillar Inc.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION ..................................................................................................................5

FUNCTIONS ..........................................................................................................................7

STRUCTURE .......................................................................................................................10

MANUFACTURING............................................................................................................12

INSTALLATION ..................................................................................................................24

NORMAL OPERATION ......................................................................................................31

ABNORMAL OPERATION ................................................................................................35


Fatigue Fracture ..............................................................................................................36
Ductile Fracture ..............................................................................................................53
Impact Shearing ..............................................................................................................60
Fretting............................................................................................................................62
Fretting Corrosion...........................................................................................................64

FASTENER PROBLEMS ....................................................................................................66


Material/Forming ............................................................................................................67
Hardening........................................................................................................................73
Threading ........................................................................................................................82

NUT FAILURES ..................................................................................................................85

FASTENER FAILURE ANALYSIS PRACTICE ................................................................86

CONCLUSION.....................................................................................................................92

LAB IRON REVIEW ...........................................................................................................93

SLIDE LIST..........................................................................................................................94

STUDENT HANDOUT........................................................................................................96
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INSTRUCTOR NOTES
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• Failure Analysis of INTRODUCTION


Threaded Fasteners
The threaded fastener failure analysis module explains how to apply
failure analysis principles when examining worn and fractured threaded
fasteners.
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• Threaded Fasteners Topics that will be covered in the threaded fastener failure analysis
presentation module include the function, structure and manufacture of bolts. This is
followed by a review of fastener installation, operation, and possible
- Functions
fastener problems. The final section in this module covers threaded
- Structure fastener failure analysis using the eight step method along with the proper
visual examination procedure to discover road signs that lead to the root
- Manufacturing cause of failure. The payoff steps (6, 7, and 8) need to be completed to
get the full benefit of finding the root cause of a failure and to ensure
- Installation
customer satisfaction.
- Operation

- Failure analysis
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• Functions FUNCTIONS

- Clamping force Threaded fasteners perform two major functions:


- Transfer load
First, threaded fasteners provide the clamping force that holds a bolted
joint together. Second, threaded fasteners transfer load from one part to
another.
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• Properly tightened If a bolt is properly tightened or torqued and joint loads are normal, there
fasteners should be no relative movement between the two joined parts. Therefore,
the only load on the bolt is tension.
- Allow no relative
movement
Any shear or bending forces present in the joint should be carried by joint
- Bolt sees only face friction created by the clamping force that is due to bolt tension.
tension loads
Note: There are certain bolted joints that are designed to slide. These are
- Shear or bending
exceptions to the above and are used in areas where thermal expansion
loads carried by joint
face friction
and contraction is necessary. Examples are exhaust manifold and
aftercooler to block joints.
• Some bolted joints are
designed to slide
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• Cone of effective Clamping force and joint friction work together to transfer load from one
clamping force part to the other.

In each bolted joint there is a cone of effective clamping force felt by the
two joined parts. The transfer of load takes place at the surface area of
the parting faces included in the cone (shown in red on this view). The
effect is as if the two parts are welded together in this area.
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• Bolt parts STRUCTURE

- Threads The basic parts of a bolt are the head, washer face, under head fillet,
shank, and threads.
- Shank

- Underhead fillet

- Washer face

- Head
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• High stress areas The highest stressed areas on a bolt are:

- First exposed thread 1) The first exposed thread root on the joint side of the nut or tapped
root on the joint side
hole,
of the nut or tapped
hole
2) The first thread root after the shank, and
- First thread root
after shank 3) The underhead fillet.

- Underhead fillet
When bolts break due to overload, it is usually at one of these high stress
• Overload failures areas.
usually occur in these
high stress areas
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• Manufacturing MANUFACTURING

- Rod sized to Bolts are manufactured from hot rolled steel rod that is first:
diameter through die

- Rod sheared to
1) pulled through a die to give a specified diameter, and then
length
2) sheared to a specified length to form a blank.
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• Forming methods Smaller bolts are shaped by a "cold-forming" operation in which the
blank is hammered into successive dies at room temperature. Larger bolts
- Cold formed if
with diameters exceeding about 32 mm (1.25 inches) are sometimes
diameter is 32 mm or
less shaped by "hot forming". Hot forming differs from cold forming in that
the blanks are heated to a specified temperature before hammering them
- Hot formed if into dies.
diameter greater
than 32 mm
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10

• Material is gathered In the first step of a hot or cold forming process, the blank is hammered
for the head into a die that has a larger diameter section at the top which leaves
material for the head.
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11

• Head is formed During the next step, the head is hammered into a round and chamfered
shape and the diameter is reduced in the bottom portion of the blank that
• Section for threads is
will later be threaded.
reduced
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12

• Head is shaped in a The round and chamfered head is then forced into a trimming die that cuts
trim die it to final shape.
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13

• Head forming creates During the head forming operation, grain flow is moved parallel to the
favorable grain flow surface of the underhead fillet as shown in this view.
• Underhead fillets are
Though the fillet is usually finished by the hammering operation, it is
sometimes rolled to
induce residual sometimes rolled to improve resistance to cracking by inducing surface
compressive stress compressive stresses.
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• End of threaded The next step is the pointing operation. Here a chamfer is cut at the end
section is chamfered of the thread section.
or “pointed”
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• Bolt shanks are The shank of the bolt is usually left as formed. Grinding to final diameter
processed according and shape however, is sometimes done for special applications (such as
to application
connecting rod bolts) where tolerances, fit, and removal of mill scale to
requirements
reduce stress concentrations are necessary. Con-rod bolts are also often
knurled to obtain a tight fit at the parting faces of the joint.
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• Bolts may be Next, the bolt is hardened to give high tensile strength. Hardening is done
hardened before or either before or after the threads are formed, depending on design.
after threads are
rolled
Nuts are generally slightly softer than bolts (approximately 5 Rockwell C
• Nuts are usually points) so the nut threads will "yield" or "flow" somewhat to better
softer than bolts for conform to the threads on the bolt. This conforming feature causes more
thread conformability uniform load transfer between the bolt and nut threads.
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• Threads may be Coarse or fine threads can be rolled using fixed and moving thread rolling
formed by rolling or dies or they can be cut by a machining operation. Caterpillar bolt threads
cutting
are usually rolled rather that cut.
• Caterpillar specifies
rolled threads where
possible
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• Benefits of rolling The rolling process forms smooth threads and thread root fillets with
threads fewer stress raisers. Rolling also moves the grain flow parallel with
thread surfaces. Finally, rolling threads produces a compressive stress at
- Smooth surfaces
the thread roots which improves resistance to fatigue cracking when it is
- Favorable grain flow performed after heat treatment.

- Induces residual
compressive stress
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• Bolt manufacturing This view shows the actual appearance of a bolt as it progresses through
summary the forming operations, starting with the blank on the left and ending with
the finished bolt on the right.
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• Use correct fasteners INSTALLATION


specified in the parts
book Each joint in Caterpillar equipment is designed to use a specific hardness
and tensile strength bolt depending on expected loads. It is therefore
important to use the bolt designed for a particular joint as identified in the
parts book. Not doing so could lead to bolt overload and sudden
unexpected failure.
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• Standard Caterpillar This chart lists general hardness and tensile strength specifications for
bolts are Grade 8 Caterpillar bolts. The standard Caterpillar bolt is equivalent to a Grade 8
bolt. Other CAT bolts have even higher hardness and tensile strength.
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• Fastener information These specifications and identification marks on Caterpillar threaded


is available in the fasteners are found in the Caterpillar "One Safe Source Catalog".
Caterpillar “One Safe
Source Catalog”
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• Selection To receive good service from new or used bolts, careful attention should
be given to bolt selection, handling, inspection and installation.
• Handling

• Inspection

• Installation
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• Inspect bolts, nuts Before installation, bolts, nuts and clamping surfaces of the parts to be
and clamping joined should be inspected and prepared for assembly. Critical areas are:
surfaces prior to
installing fasteners
a) The underhead fillet. Inspect for smoothness, corrosion, cracks,
nicks, gouges, etc.

b) Nut and bolt washer faces. Inspect for fretting corrosion, flatness,
burrs, and any other condition that would cause stress raisers or poor
seating of the bolt or nut.

c) The shank. Inspect for straightness, wear, corrosion, pitting,


cracks, or any other condition that may cause a stress raiser.

d) Nut and bolt threads. Check for corrosion, cracking, deformation,


stripping, or any other physical damage.

e) Clamping surfaces of the parts to be joined. These should be


clean, free from damage, and prepared according to service manual and
special instructions.

f) Blind threaded holes should be clean and free of liquids that could
cause hydraulic lock as bolts are installed.
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• Tighten bolts to the Bolts must be properly torqued to keep joints tight under working
specified torque conditions.
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• Follow service manual When properly torqued, most bolts are stretched near the end of the
and special elastic range (elastic limit) which is the maximum tension and elongation
instructions to
possible before the bolt is plastically deformed.
achieve proper torque
and bolt stretch
Under torquing can result in loose bolts. Over torquing can cause bolts to
be permanently stretched.

It is therefore important to follow service manual and special instructions


for specific torquing requirements.
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• Properly installed NORMAL OPERATION


fasteners exhibit
Like many parts, bolts acquire a typical appearance from normal
- No relative
operation. If nuts, bolts, and clamping surfaces are properly inspected,
movement in the
joint prepared and torqued, there should be no relative movement and little if
any wear between the bolt and the joined parts, assuming loads and
- No wear between the environmental temperatures are normal.
bolt and joined parts
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• Nut and bolt washer The washer face on either the nut or under the bolt head (depending on
faces whether the bolt or the nut is turned during installation) can show some
polishing and light scoring as shown in this view. This surface, however,
- Some polishing and
light scoring should not be fretted or severely gouged.

- No fretting or severe
gouging
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• Bolt shank The shank of the bolt may have some polishing from the joined parts,
particularly at the parting face, as shown on this connecting rod bolt
- Light polishing at
(arrow). This surface however, should not be severely worn, fretted,
parting faces (arrow)
dented, pitted, or corroded.
- No severe wear

- No fretting

- No dents or pits

- No corrosion
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• Bolt threads A normal used bolt will show some polishing on the threads that were
engaged in the nut or tapped hole. The threads however, should not be
- Some polishing on
deeply scored or "rolled over" which could indicate an overloading or
engaged threads
overtorquing situation.
- No deep scoring

- No “rolled over”
threads
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• Abnormal operation ABNORMAL OPERATION


can result in failure of
threaded fasteners There should be little wear and no evidence of joint movement in a
properly prepared, torqued, and operated bolted joint.

There are, however, times when abnormal environments result in fastener


damage or failure. Here are some common types of bolt failures. Failure
analysts need to learn to "think with the facts" about the possible root
cause for these failures. The most common fastener failures caused by
abnormal environments are:

1) Fatigue fractures

2) Ductile fractures

3) Impact shearing (secondary impact damage)

4) Fretting

5) Fretting corrosion
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• Road signs of fatigue FATIGUE FRACTURE


fracture
The Basic Fractures module showed that common fatigue fracture road
- Beach marks
signs are beach marks, smooth fracture surfaces, lack of plastic
- Smooth fracture deformation, and ductile or brittle final fracture areas.
surface

- Little plastic
deformation

- Ductile or Brittle final


fracture
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• Fatigue fracture Fatigue fractures in bolts can be caused by three general conditions:
conditions
1. Abnormal stress raisers, with normal cyclic load,
1. Abnormal stress
raisers
2. Cyclic load greater than the fatigue strength of the fastener,
2. High cyclic loads
3. Both abnormal stress raiser and cyclic overload at the same time.
3. Combination of 1
and 2
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• Abnormal stress Abnormal stress raisers such as corrosion pits, nicks, gouges, cracks, etc.
raiser examples on a bolt, particularly in the highly loaded thread, shank, underhead fillet
and washer face areas can cause fatigue failures under normal cyclic
loads. The challenge facing the analyst with this type of failure is to
determine exactly what condition produced the stress raiser.
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2
1

35

• Fracture analysis This bolt failed during normal cyclic loading and shows the typical road
signs of a fatigue fracture. Beach marks begin at one side of the bolt and
- Beach marks (1)
end at the other side at a small area of ductile final fracture. The shear lip
- Smooth, flat fracture is a road sign of the final fracture area.

- Shear lip (2) At this point in the examination, the analyst should follow the beach
marks to the crack initiation site to study that area more closely.
• Find crack initiation
site
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• Beach marks lead to Magnification reveals a gouge mark (arrow) at the fracture initiation site
gouge mark where from which the beach marks start. This indicates that the gouge mark was
crack initiated
present when the bolt was installed and acted as a stress raiser. Where did
• Where did the gouge the gouge mark come from and who is responsible for the failure?
mark (arrow) come
from? The source of the gouge mark depends on who installed the bolt --
factory, dealer, customer, or someone else.
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• Cyclic overload Bolts can also fail in fatigue without abnormal stress concentrators.
failures These failures result from:
1. High cyclic loads
1) Cyclic overloading of a properly tightened joint,
with tight joint

2. Normal loads with 2) Normal loading on a loose joint, or,


loose joint
3) Normal loading of a weakened or wrong grade bolt (strength too
3. Weakened or wrong low).
bolt

Conditions 1) and 3) can produce fatigue cracks due to cyclic


overloading.
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• Overload produces When a bolt is overloaded, the cracks will normally start at the highest
failures at high stress stressed areas of a bolt that were mentioned earlier, i.e.:
areas on a bolt

1) The root of the first exposed thread on the joint side of the nut or
• No abnormal stress
raiser at the initiation tapped hole,
site
2) The underhead fillet, or

3) The first thread root after the shank.

The fracture face will have no obvious abnormal stress raiser at the
initiation site.
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• Fracture analysis This bolt failed due to cyclic overload. Note there is no obvious abnormal
stress raiser at the initiation site (on the right of the view) and there are
- No abnormal stress
several ratchet marks at the thread root indicating that high stresses were
raiser
applied. The overload condition started a fatigue fracture at the thread
- Several ratchet root which progressed across the bolt until a ductile final fracture (note
marks the shear lip) occurred.

- Beach marks
- Shear lip

• A bending fatigue
fracture due to cyclic
overload
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40

• Tight joint Understanding how condition Number 2) (Which was "Normal loading on
a loose joint") can cause fatigue cracks requires more knowledge of how
- Preload tension is
external loads are carried by a bolted joint and what happens if the joint
present
becomes loose.
- Applied loads
increase bolt tension As mentioned earlier, torquing produces a certain amount of tension in the
only slightly bolt that is present at all times, even when the joint is not loaded. This
torque-induced tension is called "pre-load".
- Normally bolts
experience only
about 1/7 of the
When an external load is applied, which tries to separate the joint, the
applied loads tension in the bolt increases slightly beyond the preload, but not by as
much as the applied load.
- Shear and bending
loads are carried by In other words, the tension in a properly torqued bolt increases by only a
clamping force
fraction of any external load that is trying to separate the joint.
surfaces

For most joints, the bolt portion is no more than 1/7th of the external load
applied. In highly loaded joints, such as connecting rod caps, this
increase can be as much as 1/4th the external load.

In a tight joint, all shear and bending forces are carried by the clamping
force surfaces mentioned earlier.
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• Loose joint If a bolted joint becomes loose the "preload" and clamping force are lost
and the bolt must take the entire external load. Some reasons that bolted
- Preload tension is
joints become loose include: under torquing, joint relaxation due to debris
lost
between parting faces, wrong gasket material, improperly hardened
- Bolt cyclic loads will washers, rough or warped mating surfaces, etc.
be 4-7 times normal
Therefore, fatigue fracture of a good (but loose) bolt can occur because it
- Bending and shear carries cyclic loads 4 to 7 times higher than normal. Also, if a bolt
loads also
becomes loose, the shear and bending forces normally carried by the
transferred to the
bolt clamping force surfaces are also transferred to the bolt.
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42

• Result of loose The bolts that fastened the flywheel to this crankshaft were loose.
flywheel bolts
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• Note fretting on Closer inspection of the crankshaft flange surface shows fretting caused
clamping surface by movement between it and the flywheel.
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• Bolt hole elongation The bolt holes in the flywheel are elongated also indicating relative
indicates relative movement between it and crankshaft flange.
movement
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• Note depressions The other side of the flywheel has depressions around the bolt holes
around bolt holes where the bolt head washer faces were fretting into it.
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• Bolt head washers This is a magnified view of one of the bolt holes in the flywheel showing
fretted into flywheel the fretting of the bolt head washer face into the flywheel surface.
surface
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1
2

47

• Flywheel bolts These are typical bolts from the failure. The bolt in the upper left of the
view (1) is damaged too badly to recognize its failure mode. The bolt in
1. Severely damaged
the upper right (2) failed in fatigue (note the beach marks). The bolt in
2. Fatigue fracture the lower left (3) is fractured in two places -- at the flywheel to crankshaft
parting face and at the underhead fillet area. The head in the lower right
3. Fatigue fracture is from the bolt on the lower left. It also shows road signs of fatigue
(beach marks from left to right).
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48

• Fracture analysis The fracture faces of most of the bolt fragments broken off in the
crankshaft flange looked like this one.
- Two sets of
beachmarks
Note there are two sets of beach marks (one starting from the left and the
- Ductile final fracture other from the right) which progress to a ductile final fracture in the
at center center (road signs of reverse bending fatigue).

- Fractured from first Also note the fracture is from the first exposed thread root on the joint
exposed thread root
side of the threaded hole in the crankshaft.
on joint side of hole

• Road signs point to The facts presented in this case all point to loose bolts (possibly due to
loose bolts under torquing) as the root cause of the failure. The loose bolts caused
unusual cyclic shear and bending stresses in the bolts, plus the bolts were
• Why were the bolts cyclically overloaded in tension by the forces trying to separate the
loose?
flywheel from the crankshaft (approximately 7 times normal).

At this point the analyst should ask the question: "Who torqued the bolts
and how did the bolts become loose?"
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• Conditions that DUCTILE FRACTURE


produce ductile
fractures Bolts may also experience ductile fractures caused by sudden overload
during one load cycle.
1. Severe stress raiser

2. Heavy overload There are three general conditions that produce ductile bolt fractures:

3. Weakened or wrong 1) Severe stress raiser,


grade bolt
2) Heavy overload,

3) Weakened or wrong grade bolt.


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50

• Severe stress raisers A stress raiser (crack or notch) so deep that the cross sectional area of the
weaken bolts bolt is significantly reduced can cause the remaining portion of the bolt to
be overloaded and result in a ductile fracture.

This can happen under normal joint load conditions or as the bolt is
torqued. Again, the analyst should look for the reason for the stress raiser
to determine the root cause of the failure.
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51

• Overload is a common Perhaps the most common reason for ductile fractures in bolts is
cause for ductile overloading with no abnormal stress raiser. This condition can happen as
fracture
a result of:
- Heavy external
overload 1) An unusually heavy external load being applied to the component the
bolt is installed in, or
- Load transfer from
failed part 2) Another part failing causing a massive overload of an adjacent or
remaining bolt.

This bolt was overloaded, is plastically deformed and was on its way to a
ductile failure.
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52

• Fracture analysis This connecting rod bolt is an example of overload that resulted in a
ductile fracture.
- Necking

Note the necking down, rough and woody texture, shear lips, and the dark
- Rough, woody
fracture color of the fracture face -- all road signs of a ductile fracture.

- Shear lips The important thing to remember about ductile fractures is that they are
almost always the result of some condition other than bolt quality.
- Dark color
Therefore, the analyst will have to look further for facts that lead to the
• An example of ductile
root cause of the failure.
fracture due to
overload

• Bolt quality is seldom


responsible for ductile
fractures
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53

• Overtightened bolt Another way of heavily overloading a bolt is by over torquing. Note the
plastic deformation (necking down) in the threaded section adjacent to the
- Necking in threaded
fracture on this bolt.
section

- Failed in exposed Most such fractures occur in the first few exposed threads on the joint
threads side of the nut or tapped thread.
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54

• Fracture analysis Closer inspection of the thread section reveals a small fatigue area and a
large ductile fracture. Overloading and plastic stretching weakened the
- Small fatigue area (1)
bolt. Cyclic loading then produced a small fatigue crack that further
- Large ductile weakened the bolt so that normal loading caused the ductile final fracture.
fracture (2)
Looking down the threads reveals an area where they are brighter. This is
- Engaged threads are where the nut was installed. These threads are deeply scored and have
deeply scored and been "rolled over"; indicating unusually high stresses were present
rolled over
between the nut and bolt threads as overtorquing occurred.
• A ductile fracture that
started in fatigue due
to overtightening
which weakened the
bolt
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55

• Fracture analysis If a weakened or wrong grade bolt is used, normal loads can overload it.
This bolt exhibits several interesting road signs of weakening. Notice the
- Extreme necking
extensive necking down and the dark color of the oxide deposits. These
- Dark color are indications that the bolt has been above 816 °C (1500 °F) which
greatly reduced its strength causing it to fail under normal loading. The
• Ductile fracture that high temperature was generated due to a rod bearing failure.
followed severe
overheating due to a Note: It is easy to jump to a preconceived idea that bolts have failed from
rod bearing failure
extreme heat because they are black. Remember that many bolts are
normally black due to heat treatment. The analyst should always examine
the fracture faces before stating an opinion about the cause of failure.
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• Fracture analysis IMPACT SHEARING

- Smooth, silky Sometimes bolts are sheared or smashed by some high energy, moving
appearance
object during a failure. These bolt failures are resultant damage and
- No beach marks should not be confused with fatigue fractures.

- Thread indentations While they may have a relatively smooth and shiny (silky) appearance,
in bolt hole they will not have beach marks, plus there will usually be some impact
damage where the part was hit. Often there is localized heat discoloration
• An impact shear
fracture
due to high temperature generated by heat of friction during the impact
damage.

This is a typical example of a sheared or smashed bolt. Note the road


signs -- a smooth, silky appearance of the sheared surface with no beach
marks and the thread indentations in the bolt hole indicating high shear
forces.
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57

• Fracture types Consider the three broken bolts in this view. Look at each of the broken
resulting from bolts and discuss the road signs on each that indicates what type of
abnormal operation
fracture or damage each has experienced. What type fracture or damage
does each have?

Bolt Road sign Fracture/ damage type


------ ------------- ----------------------------
left silky impact sheared

center beachmarks fatigue

right necking ductile

What possible root causes might account for each of the above fractures?
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58

• Fretting indicates joint FRETTING


movement due to
insufficient joint Fretting damage indicates that the joint has been moving when loads were
tension
applied. Joint movement can result from undertorquing, overtorquing,
excessive bolt temperature, cyclic overload or any other reason for the
bolt to have insufficient tension to keep the joint tight.
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59

• Fretting damage This bolt shows fretting damage (arrow) on its underhead washer face.
(arrow) on bolt washer When fretting such as this is observed it indicates that the joint was either
face
loose or it was cyclically overloaded for a significant period of time prior
• Joint was moving to disassembly.
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• Loose joints may also FRETTING CORROSION


result in fretting
corrosion Fretting corrosion can also occur on bolts as a result of loose joints.
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• Fretting corrosion During a repair, this bolt was found to have fretting corrosion near the
damage on bolt shank parting faces of the joint. The fretting corrosion had created pitting (a
stress raiser) on the surface. The pitting could have caused a fatigue
• Do not reuse
fracture if the bolt had been reused.
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62

• Common fastener FASTENER PROBLEMS


problems
The quality of Caterpillar bolts is closely controlled by stringent
specifications. As a result, bolt defects are rarely the root cause of
problems. Occasionally however, material and workmanship problems do
occur which cause bolt failures. The most common are in the following
areas:

1) Material

2) Forming

3) Hardening

4) Threading
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63

• Steel wire rolling Material/Forming


problems
As with all rolled steel, bolts can contain seams, pipe, inclusions, etc. As
discussed in the metallurgy module these flaws are seldom seen in parts
and do not usually cause problems unless they are large and/or in high
stress areas.
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64

• Seam in steel (arrow) This bolt has a seam that was formed during hot rolling of the steel rod
from which the bolt was made. Seams such as this, (along the length of
• Not usually
the bolt) are not usually detrimental unless they are deep or opened up.
detrimental unless too
deep or opened
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65

• Internal tears During forming operations, it is also possible to cause unwanted stress
raisers such as laps, folds and tears.

Tears were found in this bolt by ultrasonic inspection. The steel was too
• Manufacturing
problem during hot cold during the hot forming process. When forced into the thread section
forming forming die, the steel near the outside flowed faster than the steel on the
inside. This caused the interior metal to be over stressed in tension and to
tear or pull apart at 5 places in the portion of the bolt where the threads
were to be made. Problems such as this are very rare, but do occasionally
occur.
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66

• Head burst or open Another stress raiser sometimes formed when the head is shaped is known
rolling seam (arrow) as a "burst". This burst resulted from a rolling seam that opened up under
the high tensile stresses and metal flow present during the head forming
operation.
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• Head burst fracture This magnified view shows the rough, woody, ductile inner surfaces of
surface the burst.
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• Head burst extending The underhead fillet area, washer face, and shank of the bolt also show
to washer face the seam that was the root cause of this burst.
• Unacceptable
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• Hardening problems Hardening

Occasionally a bolt may be too hard (either improperly hardened or too


much carbon content).
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• Stress corrosion Fasteners with excessive hardness that are exposed to a combination of
cracking high stress and a corrosive moist environment can fail by stress corrosion
cracking (SCC). SCC starts with the formation of corrosion pits on the
- Material problem
surface of the part. After the pits form, the combination of high stress and
- Constant load the corrosive environment causes a break down of the grain boundaries of
the steel. As the process continues, a brittle appearing stress corrosion
- Corrosive crack forms over several hours.
environment

This type of crack is an exception to the general rule that "brittle cracks
• Crack initiates and
propagates due to form in only a portion of one load cycle". In this case, the mechanism
combination of that opens the crack is corrosion combined with tensile stress that breaks
constant load and down the grain boundaries instead of a sudden impact load.
corrosion of part
Stress corrosion cracking is also an example of a brittle fracture that is the
• Brittle fracture that
"cause of failure" rather than a "result".
causes failure rather
than results from
failure
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71

• Fracture analysis This track bolt experienced stress corrosion cracking that began in the
thread root. The corrosion progressed in a semi-circular path (arrow)
- Initiation at thread
across the bolt until the remaining cross section was overloaded by the
root
normal tension in the bolt caused by its specified torque. The bolt then
- Crack moved by a suffered a ductile final fracture.
combination of load
and corrosion In this case, the root cause of the problem was not an operational
condition, but was wrong metallurgy of the bolt (too hard and too much
- Ductile final fracture
carbon). When carbon and hardness levels were decreased, the failures
due to reduced
cross section of stopped.
material

• Stress corrosion
cracking failure due to
a material problem
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• Differential housing This differential housing bolt also failed by stress corrosion cracking.
bolt failure
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• Fracture analysis Notice in this magnified view, the initiation site of the crack (lower right)
and the brittle appearing fracture face with chevrons (roads signs)
- Crack initiation
pointing back to the initiation site.
site (1)

- Brittle fracture
area (2)

- Ductile final fracture


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74

• Fracture analysis This higher power magnified view of the thread root shows the actual pit
(arrow) and the small, darker area at the initiation site where the corrosion
- Surface pit
entered the grain boundaries of the steel (lower center of the view).
- Bright, crystalline
brittle fracture Also, note the bright and crystalline appearance of the fracture face, road
surface signs of a brittle fracture.
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• Differential housing This is an even higher magnified view of the pit (arrow). Again, this
bolt failure initiation failure was the result of a heat treat and material problem with the bolt
site
(too hard/too much carbon).
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76

• Fracture analysis Hardening problems can also cause other types of failures. This bolt
failed at the underhead fillet. What type of fracture is this? (Discussion)
- Underhead fillet
Road signs on the fracture face -- rough, woody, dark surface - indicate a
fracture (high stress
area) ductile fracture. What caused the failure? (Discussion) A closer view is
needed to answer that question.
- Rough, woody dark
fracture surface

• A ductile fracture
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77

• Fracture analysis This magnified view provides the answer. Are there any road signs here
that lead to the root cause of the failure? (Discussion)
- Narrow band of dark,
crystalline fracture
Note the difference in the appearance of various areas on the fracture face.
at surface

- Dark band is a There is a narrow band of darker and more crystalline surface at the top
quench crack at a (around the circumference) of the fracture face when compared to the
normal stress raiser surfaces more toward the inside of the fracture face. This dark, narrow
(arrows)
band goes all around the circumference of the bolt. It is a quench crack
• Bolt failed by ductile
which was formed during the cooling process after heat treat.
fracture due to a
quench crack at the This quench crack formed an extremely severe stress raiser in one of the
underhead fillet highest loaded areas on the bolt and caused a ductile fracture the first time
sufficient load was applied.
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78

• Thread forming Threading


problems
Flaws can also be produced during thread forming operations. Care must
- Cracks
be used in rolling or cutting bolt threads to prevent any condition which
- Burrs would leave abnormally sharp corners, cracks, burrs, laps, or other
abnormal stress raisers in the threads (and particularly at the thread roots)
- Laps as these stress raisers could lead to fatigue fractures.

• Sufficiently severe
In rare cases, deep or severe irregularities can reduce bolt strength to the
stress raisers can
cause ductile or
point that normal loads can cause overload and ductile fractures. More
fatigue fractures often, however, these irregularities cause fatigue cracks.
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79

• Failure analysis This bolt failed due to a pre-crack at the sharp corner of a cut thread root.
The pre-crack created a stress raiser which started a fatigue fracture along
- Initiated at thread
approximately 120° of the thread circumference and worked its way
root
inward until half the bolt was cracked. At this point the remaining bolt
- Beach marks material was overloaded and a ductile final fracture occurred.

- Ductile final fracture

• Bending fatigue
fracture initiated by a
precrack
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80

• Note cracks at thread This magnified view shows pre-cracking at the thread roots (arrows) of
roots (arrows) some of the adjacent unfailed threads. The severe notch effect of the
precracks concentrated the applied stresses in the thread root, magnifying
them to a level that was up to eight times greater than normal.
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81

• Nuts are rarely the NUT FAILURES


root cause of a joint
failure Nuts and threaded holes are very rarely the root cause of failures. This is
because, although they are usually slightly softer than their mating bolts,
• Joints are designed
so bolt fails in tension nuts are loaded differently. Heat treated nuts are normally designed with
before the nut strips a thread engagement such that the bolt will fail in tension before the
threads will strip.
• Nut thread stripping
If threads are stripped, it is usually due to the use of improper, low grade
- Wrong grade
fastener
fasteners, insufficient thread engagement, cross threading during
installation, dirt in the threads, or an error in heat treat.
- Insufficient
engagement The last few threads in this nut stripped due to insufficient thread
engagement after the nut backed off during operation.
- Cross threading

- Dirty threads

- Heat treat problem


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82

• Practice analyzing FASTENER FAILURE ANALYSIS PRACTICE


failed fasteners
Look at the failed bolts in the view. Try to identify fracture types and
whether they are causes or results.

Which of these fractures are causes and which are results of a failure?
What type of fracture is on each bolt?

It is not possible to tell from this view of the bolts. Closer examination of
the fractures is required.
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83

• Answers Here is a closer view of the bolts. Now, which are causes and which are
results and what type of fracture do they exhibit? Answers:

a. The four bolts on the left show flat fracture faces. They are fatigue
fractures, associated with the root cause of failure.

b. The three bolts on the right show dark, rough, woody, necked down
fracture faces. They are ductile fractures which are usually a result.

c. The bolt on the bottom is not necked down and the fracture face is not
straight across the bolt diameter. The fracture face cannot be seen here,
but it is silky. This bolt failed by impact shear, also a result.
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84

• Fracture analysis What type of fracture is this? It is a ductile fracture. In this case the
Caterpillar Met lab put a 6° wedge under the bolt head and applied a
- Stretched
tensile load until the bolt broke. The off center load produced a large off
- Necked in threads center shear lip. The nut was installed just below the fracture during the
test. As mentioned earlier bolts that are subjected to overload will usually
- Large shear lips fail through the first exposed thread root on the joint side of the nut.

• A ductile fracture due


to overload
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85

• Fracture analysis This is a closer look at the fracture face. Note the road signs -- rough
texture and shear lips. Was the bolt the cause of this failure? No. The
- Rough fracture
root cause of ductile bolt fractures is usually overload, which happened to
surface
this bolt during testing at a Caterpillar Met Lab.
- Shear lip all around
the perimeter

• A ductile fracture due


to overload
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86

• Failed bolt What type of fracture is this? It is not possible to tell from this view.
Closer examination of the fracture face is required.
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87

• Fracture analysis Closer examination shows that this is a fatigue fracture. Note the road
signs: initiation site, beach marks and ductile final fracture.
- Smooth surface

What is the root cause of this failure? Notice the fretting corrosion visible
- Beach marks
on the shank of the bolt just below the fracture face. This same condition
- Ductile final fracture existed at the initiation site and caused a pit (stress raiser) that resulted in
the fatigue fracture.
- Fretting on shank of
bolt

- Pit at crack initiation


site

• A fatigue fracture that


initiated from a pit on
the shank surface
caused by fretting
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88

• Fastener functions CONCLUSION

- Provide clamping This concludes the threaded fastener module. This module demonstrated
force
that fasteners provide clamping force and transfer load. They are very
- Transfer load carefully made, but can be abused by adverse installation or environment.

• Fastener quality is Caterpillar bolt quality is very seldom the root cause of a failure. The
seldom an issue in analyst must therefore be very careful in analyzing fastener failures to
fastener failures
arrive at the correct root cause.
• Get the payoff
After gathering facts and arriving at the root cause, remember to complete
- Communicate steps 6, 7, and 8 (of the Eight Steps of Applied Failure Analysis). These
steps help the analyst to "get the payoff" by communicating with the
- Corrective action responsible party, taking appropriate corrective action and performing
follow-up visits to assure customer satisfaction.
- Follow up
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89

• Laboratory exercise LAB IRON REVIEW


should follow
Now, take a look at some actual examples of bolt failures. Try to
determine the type of fracture or condition that exists and the most
probable root cause of failure.

INSTRUCTOR NOTE: Students should next participate in a


practical exercise. The instructor should select six (6) to twelve (12)
failed parts representing the abnormal wear and fractures discussed
in this lesson. Using the worksheet (Handout No. 1) in this guide,
students should record road signs they observe, what the road signs
mean, and where the analyst should next seek additional facts for
each failed part.
AFA STMG 002 - 94 -
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SLIDE LIST
1. Threaded fasteners failure analysis 42. Fractured bolts in crankshaft
2. Threaded fasteners module overview 43. Fractured bolts in crankshaft - close up 1
3. Functions of threaded fasteners 44. Flywheel boltholes
4. Joint illustration 45. Flywheel boltholes - reverse side
5. Clamping force 46. Flywheel boltholes - close up
6. Bolt parts 47. Fractured bolts from crankshaft
7. Fastener high stress areas 48. Fractured bolt in crankshaft
8. Bolt manufacturing - shearing 49. Ductile fracture conditions
9. Forming methods 50. Severe stress raisers
10. Hammering in die 51. Stretched bolt
11. Head forming 52. Ductile fractured bolt
12. Chamfering head 53. Ductile fractured bolt
13. Grain flow illustration 54. Ductile fractured bolt - close up
14. Pointing operation 55. Ductile fractured bolt - bullet bolt
15. Shank 56. Impact shearing
16. Hardening 57. Three bolt fractures
17. Thread rolling 58. Abnormal operation results
18. Rolled threads grain flow 59. Underhead fretting
19. Bolt forming operations 60. Abnormal operation results
20. Use the proper bolt 61. Shank fretting
21. Caterpillar bolts 62. Fastener problems
22. One safe source catalog 63. Rolling problems
23. Bolt selection, etc. 64. Seam in shank & threads
24. Critical areas 65. Internal fractures from forming
25. Torquing - wrench 66. Head burst
26. Torquing - elastic/plastic curve 67. Head burst - close up
27. Bolt appearance 68. Seam that initiated head burst
28. Nut appearance 69. Fastener problems
29. Shank appearance 70. Stress corrosion cracking
30. Engaged thread appearance 71. SCC bolt fracture
31. Abnormal operation results 72. Another SCC bolt fracture
32. Fatigue crack growth illustration 73. Fracture face close up - 1
33. Fatigue fracture conditions 74. Fracture face close up - 2
34. Abnormal stress raisers 75. Fracture face close up - 3
35. Fatigue fractured bolt 76. Quench cracked bolt
36. Fatigue fractured bolt - close up 77. Quench cracked bolt - close up
37. Cyclic overload 78. Thread forming problems
38. Typical fatigue fracture initiation sites 79. Cut thread root fracture
39. Fatigue fractured bolt 80. Cut thread root fracture - close up
40. Tight joint 81. Stripped nuts
41. Loose joint - no preload 82. Analyze multiple bolt fractures
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SLIDE LIST
83. Analyze multiple bolt fractures - 2
84. Identify ductile fracture - 1
85. Identify ductile fracture - 2
86. Identify fatigue fracture - 1
87. Identify fatigue fracture - 2
88. Threaded fasteners overview/conclusion
89. Iron review
AFA STMG 002 - 96 - Student Handout
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Applied Failure Analysis Laboratory Worksheet

What do you see? What does it mean? Where do you go next?

10
SESV8002 Printed in U.S.A.
8/2000