# MECH7350 Rotating Machinery

2. Failure

2. FAILURE MECHANISMS
(This section is based largely on Juvinall and Marshek)

When machines in generating plant fail there is a cause and a failure mechanism which involves materials and their properties. This section addresses failure mechanisms.

2.1 Some Terms for Elastic Materials Elastic materials deform linearly under load and return to their original shape after the load is removed. Consider a bar of elastic material deformed under a tensile load P.

σ = axial stress = ε = axial strain =
E=

P (pascals, Pa) A ΔL (dimensionless) L

P

σ = modulus of elasticity, or Young’s modulus (Pa) ε

Area, A

P

Consider a cube of elastic material deformed under shear forces.

τ yx
1 γ xy 2

τ xy

τ xy
1 γ xy 2

τ yx

τ = shear stress = (shear force)/area, (Pa)

γ = shear strain, (dimensionless)
G=

τ xy = modulus of rigidity, or shear modulus (Pa) γ xy

2-1

Other factors promoting brittle fracture are sharp notches and impact loading. Failure 2. It normally constitutes a “pulling apart”. and those prone to fracture without significant prior distortion as brittle. 2. materials prone to distortion failure are classed as ductile. there is an intermediate grey area wherein a given material can fail in either a ductile or a brittle manner. is clearly defined as the separation or fragmentation of a member into two or more pieces. or plastic strain.2. Normally ductile materials can fracture in a brittle manner at sufficiently low temperatures. In general.2 Fracture Mechanics 2.2 Basic Concepts The fracture mechanics approach begins with the assumption that all real materials contain cracks of some size – even if only submicroscopic.3 Stress Concentration t σ g = gross-section tensile stress = P 2wt P 2w P Stress concentration 2-2 . associated with tensile stress. Static loading can result in objectionable deflection and elastic instability. it is because the conditions of loading and environment (primarily temperature) are such that they cause an almost instantaneous propagation to failure of one or more of the original cracks. at which time total fracture occurs 2.MECH7350 Rotating Machinery 2. Failure is defined as having occurred when the plastic deformation reaches an arbitrary limit. Fracture. on the other hand. If there is fatigue (cyclic) loading. Distortion. depending on circumstances. If brittle failure occurs.2.2.1 Types of Failure Failure of a loaded member can be regarded as any behaviour that renders it unsuitable for its intended function. as well as plastic distortion and fracture. is associated with shear stresses and involves slipping along natural slip planes. Unfortunately. the initial cracks may grow very slowly until one of them reaches a critical size.

This means that ductile yielding will occur in a small volume of material at the crack root. and • The reduction in K c with temperature for the high-toughness D6AC steel. stress concentration factor approaches infinity. Values of K c are substantially lower for thick members (plane strain) than for thin members (plane stress).4 mm thick plates made of common aircraft structural materials. Yield strength S y is the tensile stress at which plastic yielding first occurs in a specimen tensile test. and the stress will be redistributed. Ultimate stress Su is the stress in the tensile stress specimen when it is carrying the maximum possible load before failure. Sy and Su are defined below. 2-3 . Thick members offer less opportunity for redistributing high crack root stresses by shear yielding. The limiting value is called fracture toughness or critical stress intensity factor K c . Thus the stress concentration factor is considerably less than infinity.MECH7350 Rotating Machinery 2. Failure However. In the fracture mechanics approach. Note: • The relatively high fracture toughness of the titanium alloy in comparison to its ultimate strength Su . • The room temperature comparison of K c for the two steels of nearly equivalent ultimate strengths. If radius of crack root approaches zero. stress is much higher at the base of a crack (stress concentration factor).1 contains typical mechanical properties of 25. Table 2. a stress intensity factor K is evaluated theoretically (more soon) and is compared with a limiting value of K that is found from standard tests to be necessary for crack propagation in that material. so it is conservative to assume thick members. Failure occurs when K exceeds K c .

1 Strength properties of 25. K is given approximately by: σg a 0. 2. Fatigue fractures begin with a minute (usually microscopic) crack at a critical area 2-4 . and have a somewhat elliptical form.MECH7350 Rotating Machinery 2. Research has established that if: • • 2w >6 t a = about 0. Failure Table 2.15 7075-T651 aluminium alloy Ti-6A1-4V (annealed) titanium alloy D6AC high toughness steel D6AC high toughness steel 4340 steel Room Room Room -40C Room Cracks generally begin in thick members at the surface.26 2c w >3 c a < 0.8 Then at the edge of the crack. Temperature Material Su MPa 538 896 1517 1565 1793 Sy MPa 483 827 1310 1358 1496 Kc MPa(m)1/2 29. Yield Stress S y and Kc .3 Fatigue Fatigue failure might better be described as progressive fracture under fluctuating or repeated loading.5 t t • • • σg Sy < 0.46 57.44 76.90 49.4 mm thick plates – values of Ultimate Stress Critical Stress Intensity Factor Su .39 − 0. as shown adjacent.67 71.053 (σ g / S y ) 2 Fracture would be predicted for K > K c .

thereby reducing the section and causing increased stresses. As the crack progresses. Moore fatigue test rotating beam. The figure below is typical. Failure of high local stress. N = number of cycles to failure at the amplitude S of oscillatory stress. fatigue failures typically occur after thousands or even millions of cycles of minute yielding. such as breaking of a wire by bending it back and forth. Whereas a wire can be broken after a few cycles of gross plastic yielding. S-N curves are generated for materials.) 2-5 . Engineering practice relies on empirical fatigue data from the standardised R. Fatigue failure can occur at stress levels far below the conventionally determined yield point or elastic limit.MECH7350 Rotating Machinery 2. (S = stress. the material at the crack root at any particular time is subjected to the destructive localised reversed yielding. Notch Small region behaves plastically Main body behaves elastically The initial fatigue crack usually results in an increase in local stress concentration. shown diagrammatically below. This is almost always at a geometric stress raiser. Fatigue failure results from repeated plastic deformation. As the crack deepens. the rate of crack propagation increases until the remaining section is no longer able to support a single load application and final fracture occurs.R.

Cavitation commonly occurs in centrifugal pumps and turbine blades.4 Surface Damage More machine parts fail through surface damage than breakage.4. 2. Failure The adjacent figure is a typical S-N curve for steel and shows an endurance limit. In severe cases. and new welds form. A surface damaged by cavitation appears roughened. even for an indefinitely large number of loading cycles.2 Cavitation Damage Cavitation damage is the formation of bubbles in a liquid that is moving with respect to a nearby solid surface.3 Adhesive Wear When two surfaces slide across each other. When these bubbles subsequently collapse at or near the solid surface. the contact pressure and frictional heat of sliding are concentrated at the small local areas of contact (asperities).1 Corrosion Corrosion is the degradation of a material (normally a metal) by chemical or electrochemical reaction with its environment. pressure waves impinge upon the surface causing local stresses that can be great enough to cause plastic deformation of many metals. and so on. Bubbles are formed when the liquid pressure drops below its vapour pressure. Local temperatures and pressures are extremely high and conditions are favourable for welding at these points. For a low carbon steel the endurance limit is about one-half of the ultimate strength. 2-6 . This is called adhesive wear. 2. Loose particles resulting from the wear can cause further damage. with closely spaced pits. enough material is removed to give the surface a spongy texture. 2. These welds fail in shear. It can combine with static or fatigue stresses to produce a more destructive action than would be expected by considering the actions of corrosion and stress separately. 2.MECH7350 Rotating Machinery 2.4.4. Various mechanisms for surface damage are described briefly. This is the stress below which fatigue failure does not occur.

finite contact areas are developed because of deflections. Fatigue failures can be initiated by minute cracks that propagate to permit small pieces of material to separate from the surfaces. These contact areas are so small that very high compressive stresses can result in a cyclic manner. This is pitting or spalling. 2-7 . Failure 2. are pressed together.4.MECH7350 Rotating Machinery 2.4 Surface Fatigue When curved elastic bodies. such as parts of a rolling-element bearing.