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Materials and Processes EJ230017D

May 4

SID: 0926018

Metals and non-metals sometimes fail suddenly for no apparent reason showing little or no reduction in cross sectional area. This report focuses on two sections; Defects & Failure, and Cast irons. The first section of the report focuses on the causes of failures on engineering components. The second section focuses on the Microscopic examination of Cast iron specimens to determine the type of structure and nature of carbon.

Table of Contents

Introduction .......................................................... 3

520 Defects and failures ....................................... 3

413 Cast Irons...................................................... 13

CONCLUSION ....................................................... 20

REFERENCE .......................................................... 20

Metals and non-metals sometimes fail suddenly for no apparent reason showing little or no reduction in cross sectional area, although under tensile testing show plastic deformation prior to failure. This report has two assignments; the first assignment focuses on the causes of failure found in engineering, the second assignment involves the microscopic examination of cast irons specimens to determine the type of structure and nature of carbon and relating it to the mechanical properties and use of the irons.

520 Defects and failures

This assignment focuses upon the causes of failures or defects found in engineering components. Procedures Carefully examine each component and capture the image either by electronic means through a microscope or a photograph of the specimen. The investigation should thoroughly research the causes of failure and suggest remedies to avoid these in future.

Apparatus 11 samples supplied Metallurgical microscope with image capture facility Magnifying glass Magnet

Causes of failure: climatic factors, manufacturing defects, improper maintenance, errors in design, misuse of materials, corrosion, inadequate protection and others. Sample number

1. Cast aluminium collect for attached to a steel rope immersed in seawater: The picture below is cast aluminium collect.

Aluminium has a reputation as a highly corrosion resistant material. It has gained worldwide acceptance as a dominant marine construction material. Aluminium has a nature to oxidize very quickly, while this is a weakness for most metals, this quality is surprisingly the key to its ability to resist corrosion. When oxygen is present (in the air, soil, or water), aluminium instantly reacts to form aluminium oxide. This aluminium oxide is chemically bound to the surface and it seals the core aluminium from any further reaction. Aluminiums oxide film is tenacious, hard, and instantly self-renewing. According to the US Army Corps of Engineers, Aluminium has excellent corrosion resistance in a wide range of water and soil conditions because of the tough oxide film that forms on its surface. Although aluminium is an active metal in the galvanic series, this film affords excellent protection except in several special cases. The sample still shows sign of corrosion.

The Aluminium Association states, Unless exposed to some substance or condition which destroys this protective oxide coating, the metal remains resistant to corrosion. The protective oxide layer of aluminium can become unstable when exposed to extreme pH levels. When the environment is highly acidic or basic, break down of the protective layer can occur, and its automatic renewal may not be fast enough to prevent corrosion. According to the US Army Corps of Engineers, aluminiums protective oxide film is generally stable in the pH range of 4.5 to 8.5. Corrosion of aluminium is not normally seen in lakes, pools, food packaging products, and others but in or near the ocean. It may seem logical to conclude that salt water must be corrosive to aluminium, but it is not. Salt water does not corrode aluminium because of its neutral pH. A salt water solution can be a major facilitator for galvanic or dissimilar metal corrosion, a more complex corrosive process. When two dissimilar metals are immersed in an electrolyte solution, a battery is created. The electrolyte solution serves as a bridge between the two metals and effectively closes half of an electrical loop. The diagram shows an electrolyte solution



When two dissimilar me metals come into contact, the electrical loop is closed, and the natural voltage differential between them causes electron flow. One metal will become the anode and one will become the cathode. In this environment, it takes two dissimilar metals to initiate a galvanic reaction (in this case is aluminium and steel). This reaction results in galvanic corrosion and effective corrosion protection from the other. When aluminium is in contact with other metals, it acts as the anode and begins to corrode. Although this process may take many years to yield signs of degradation. As a preventative measure, whenever possible, aluminium should be isolated from other metals with a non-absorbent, non-conductive, insulator like bitumastic paints or polymer sleeves and washers. Isolating dissimilar metals is simply a very easy and expensive way of minimizing the concern of a galvanic reaction altogether. If aluminium is forced to be the cathode, not only will it minimize the corrosive effects of the galvanic reaction but it will show greater corrosion resisting characteristics than when left to its own devices. 2. Stabilised stainless steel pipe carried chlorine at 120C. Failure occurred 9 months.

Degradation of pipelines is as a result of persistent attack by the environment on pipeline materials (coating, welds, etc). Stainless steel is corrosion resistant. The basic resistance of stainless steel occurs because of its ability to form a protective coating on the metal surface. This coating is a passive film which resists further oxidation or rusting. Unlike aluminium or silver this passive film is invisible in stainless steel. It is created when oxygen combines with the chrome in the stainless to form chrome oxide. Halogen salts, especially chlorides easily penetrate this passive film and will allow corrosive attack to occur. This tells why the failure happened in the first place; stainless steel pipe carried chlorine. Piping is frequently under tensile stress. If stainless steel is under tensile stress, because of operation or residual stress left during manufacture, cracking will occur in the stressed piece. 3. Titanium hip joint (femoral) failed in situ.

Stress concentration UHMWP

Porosity in titanium welds is influenced is influenced by cleanliness, time between final joint preparation and welding as well as other factors. Welds (or forging) cursed the residual stress. Fracture of the femoral stem (titanium hip joint) may be caused by one factor or combination of factors a). High stresses in the stem due to increased weight, a high level of activity, or a relatively undersized prosthesis ; b) poor proximal bone support, which may be due to the absence of calcar; Porosity can be generated within the cast during the solidification of the metal, which is accompanied by shrinkage, leaving voids within the metal. The grain size might be another factor because it related to the fatigue properties of the stem. A fracture of the stem usually originates from its antero-lateral aspect corresponding

to the tensile stresses generated during walking; stair climbing and sitting can also generate high tensile stresses on anterior and lateral aspect. 4. Lifting lug made of low carbon steel plate.

Signs of lamination The failure is a result of stress acting on the lifting lug. The material is ductile. Ductile metals under high stress levels initially deform plastically at definite yield point. Failure occurs when a maximum shear stress attains a certain value. It shows that identical metal where laminated. 5. Cast cam shaft.

The camshaft itself is rarely to blame for cam failure. When the cam core is made at the casting foundry, all the lobes are flame hardened to a depth below of the barrel of the core, allowing the cam grinder to finish grind the lobes to an acceptable shape while maintaining the correct hardness. Causes may be as a result of lobe wear, incorrect break-in procedure, and incorrect valve spring pressure.

Observation personally shows rough surface, manufacturing defect and a brittle failure.

6. Mazak torgue test specimen. Aluminium/Zinc alloy.

Aluminium and zinc alloy is a brittle material. It failure is classified as torque failure as a result of bad casting. Fracture occurred at 45 therefore fracture can be said to have occurred as a result of torsion in maximum separating stress. It can be classified as a grey cast iron because its failure is as result of stress concentration.

7. Slave spring for refuse vehicle.

This is due to rapid fatigue failure. Fatigue cracking results from cyclic stresses that are below the ultimate tensile stress, or even the yield stress of the material. Fatigue failure occurs in three stages- crack initiation; slow, stable crack growth, and rapid fracture. In the first stage, dislocations accumulate near surface stress concentrations and form structures called persistent slip bands (PSB) after a large number of loading cycles.

In the second stage of fatigue some of the tiny micro-cracks join together and begin to propagate through the material in a direction that is perpendicular to the maximum tensile stress. At the point where there is continued cyclic loading, the fracture toughness is exceeded and the remaining cross -section of the material experiences rapid fracture. Failure must have occurred as a resulting of the loading pattern, peak stress levels and material. In addition there are other factors such as stress, concentration, temperature, overload, metallurgical structure, and residual stresses which can affect the tendency for fatigue.


8. Shear pin for forging press.

Failure is as a result of overloading. Silvery bits indicate failure while brown bits indicate corrosion and corrosion in materials mean that there has been a crack for a long period of time. Crack occurs before fracture. Corrosion is more on the crack than surface. There is some form of crevice corrosion which occurs as a result of non-uniformity in the composition of the electrolyte. The operation of the electrolyte is with respect to the galvanic series. 9. Sheared stainless steel bolt

This shows the presence of crevice corrosion. Failure occurred as a result of compression in head, tension in shank and lack of oxygen. Crevice Corrosion is a problem with stainless fasteners used in seawater applications, because of the low PH of salt water. Chlorides pit the passivated surface, where the low PH saltwater attacks the exposed metal. Lacking the oxygen to re-passivate, corrosion continues. As is signified by its name, this corrosion is most common in oxygen restricted crevices, such as under a bolt head.


10. Splined vehicle drive shaft.

It is a fatigue failure, but it failed at 90 due to torque at the angle twist. The failure process can be described as ductile, it is a tough material, and it has good K1c. For it to have failed at 90, it must have had a crack going round the edge.


413 Cast Irons

OBJECT: Microscopic examination of specimens- to determine type of structure and nature of carbon and relate these to the mechanical properties and use of the irons. THEORY: One of the differences between cast iron and steel is the presence of a large quantity of carbon and frequently high silicon contents. The excess carbon is either present as cemenite (Fe3CWhite Iron No A5) or graphite (Grey Iron No A2). Graphite is black, soft and occupies a large bulk with a density in the same order as iron. On the relative amounts, shape and distribution of these two forms of carbon largely depend the general properties of the Iron. The properties of cast irons may also be modified by heat treatment after casting (Nos A6 and A7) or by inoculation during casting (No A10).

PROCEDURE: Examine the following specimens, re polishing and etching (2% nitric acid in alcohol) where necessary. (Microscopic examination X100 gives best results). Draw the structure observed (1.52 inches diameter circle) and note all phases present. SPECIMENS: Specimen No A2 Grey Iron Structure as etched. Medium flake graphite associated with ferrite and small amounts of phosphide eutectic in ferrite matrix.


100 magnification


50 magnification

Grey iron is formed when approximately 3.5% of carbon is added to pure iron under a low cooling rate, where Iron Carbide (Fe3C) exceeds its solubility in solid iron (Fe3C is fully absorbed in the iron until there is no room left). Sulphur in cast irons contributes to the formation of graphite flakes. A2 grey iron has coarse graphite which is relatively weak and has high silicon content.

Specimen No A5 Hypo-eutectic White Iron This is a typical white iron showing primary dentrites (dark) and the eutectic (dark regions set in white). Magnification at 1000x shows that the white areas (iron carbide) remain featureless, while the dark regions are resolved as pearlite.

100 magnification

50 magnification

When carbon is added between 2% and 3% to iron under high cooling rate white iron is formed. White iron is very brittle because the carbon exist as iron carbide not pure carbon Specimen No A6 White heart Malleable Iron Flake aggregate graphite nodules in a background of Ferrite with small scattered areas of pearlite.

500 magnification.


In making white heart malleable iron, the cast iron is decarburised during annealing leaving a structure of iron carbide in a metallic matrix. Annealing is a combined decarburisation and graphitisation process performed in an oxidizing atmosphere. The castings are heated about 1000 C for up to 100 hours whilst in contact with some oxidising material such as haematite ore.
Specimen No A7 Blackheart Malleable Iron Flake graphite nodules in a background of Ferrite with small scattered areas of pearlite.


Black heart cast iron is produced by heating low silicon white iron at 900-950C for many days (48 hours) before cooling slowly. Specimen A8 Grey Iron Grey iron cast in thin sections, therefore a degree of under cooling has occurred which has affected the flake shape and size. Large amounts of under cooling in grey irons are considered to be undesirable in respect to strength and toughness.


This is formed under high cooling rate which is tough and strong fine graphite with low silicon content.
Specimen No A10 Spheroidal Graphite Iron Spheroidal graphite in a matrix of ferrite.

Spheroidal graphite Iron is also known as nodular iron; its graphite contains the form of round globules. The graphite is made to deposit in globular form by adding small amounts of either of the metals cerium or magnesium to the molten iron, just before casting. Magnesium is more widely used, and is generally added as a magnesium-nickel alloy, in amounts to give a residual magnesium content of 0.1% in the iron.


1. Sketch and label the appropriate part of the iron-carbide equilibrium diagram for cast irons.


2. The influence of the rate of solidification and lattice transformation. The carbon content (min 2.03%) in cast iron ensures the solidification of the final phase with a eutectic transformation. Free graphite is a characteristic constituent of low alloyed cast irons. Precipitation of graphite directly from the liquid occurs when solidification takes place in the range between the liquids and solids transformation and metastable transformation. During solidification, the major amount of the carbon precipitates in the form of graphite or cementite. When solidification is immediately complete, the precipitated phase is set in a matrix of austenite which has an equilibrium carbon concentration of about 2 wt%. On further cooling, the carbon concentration of the austenite decreases as more cementite or graphite precipitates from the solid solution. Chemical composition: mainly cast irons contain: carbon 3.0-4.0%, silicon 1.0-3.0%, manganese 0.5-1.0%, and sulphur up to 0.1% and phosphorus up to 1.0%. Carbon: carbon may be present in the structure either as flakes of graphite or as a network of hard, brittle , iron carbide(cementite). Silicon: silicon to some degree governs or decides the form in which carbon is present in cast iron. It causes the cementite to be unstable, so that it decomposes, releasing free graphite.


Therefore, a high silicon iron tends to be a grey iron while a low silicon tends to be a white iron. Sulphur: sulphur in cast irons is known to favour the formation of graphite flakes, it tends to stabilise cementite and so helps to produce white iron. It causes excessive brittleness in cast iron. Manganese: manganese toughens and strengthens an iron, partly because it neutralises much of the sulphur by forming a slag with it, and partly because some of the manganese dissolves in the ferrite. Phosphorus: phosphorus forms a brittle compound with some of the iron. However, it increase fluidity and considerable improves the casting qualities of irons like silicon.

3. silicon: The presence of silicon in iron carbon alloys promotes the formation of graphite. Silicon enhances the performance of ductile iron at elevated temperatures by stabilizing the ferritic matrix and forming a silicon rich surface which inhibits oxidation. Silicon influences the room temperature mechanical properties of ductile iron through solid solution hardening of the ferrite matrix. Thus, a high silicon iron tends to be a grey iron, while low silicon tends to be a white iron.

4. ferritic matrix cast iron: ferritic matrix is found in malleable Cast Irons; white cast iron is used for the manufacture of malleable cast iron. This is produced by heating white cast iron at a temperature of 870C for an extended time period and then cooling at a slow controlled rate. The cementite loses carbon which forms into free nodules. The final product is a ferrite matrix which include free nodule of carbon. Malleable cast iron has superior mechanical properties compared to grey cast iron apart from wear. Pearlitic matrix cast iron: White iron has a structure of pearlite in a cementite matrix making it hard, brittle and difficult to machine. It used for wear resisting components such as extrusion dies and cement mixer liners. Fracture surfaces have light coloured appearance. White cast iron: it is very brittle. It has a good tensile strength and strain. It has a structure of pearlite.

Reasons for inoculating cast iron The purpose of inoculation is to assist in providing enough nucleation sites for the carbon to precipitate as graphite rather than iron carbide (cementite, Fe3C). This is done by preventing under cooling down to temperatures below the meta-stable eutectic temperature where

carbidic (white) structures are formed. Inoculation changes the structure of cast iron by altering the solidification process. The role of the inoculants is to produce nuclei in the liquid iron melt which enhance the graphite nucleation with a low degree of under-cooling. Problems encountered when welding cast iron: Cast iron is the most difficult of all common cast metals to weld. All electric welding methods for cast iron have proven to be less than satisfactory in many cases can cause even more cracks. Most electric welds with nickel rod on cast iron fail. Most cause more damage compared to how it was before the attempted weld. It also involves a lot of time and effort in the clean up and machine work of any welded piece.

Continuous cooling transformation (CCT) diagrams measures the degree of transformation as a function of time for a constantly decreasing temperature. This can cause the variation in the structure and mechanical properties. On very severe quenching the skin can crack when transforming to the brittle Martensite. The variation in the structure can lead to quenching cracks.

An increase in carbon content shifts the CCT and TTT curves to the tight (this corresponds to an increase in hardness it increases the ease of forming martensiteg i.e the cooling rate require to attain martensite is less severe). An increase in carbon content decreases the martensite start temperature


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