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Optical Microscope Examinations

of Two A-286 Alloy Collars,

William C. Ferguson
Material & Process Development
April 8, 2014
Summary of Examinations
Two, A-286 alloy P/N Y-63700-18-1 collars were sectioned to allow visual and
optical microscope examination of wear patterns on the 0.877/0.875 inch
diameter cylinders. The collars were gas nitrided at Surface Treating of Ohio to
produce a case depth of 0.003 inch. The collars are believed to have operated
in separate down well environments for an undisclosed period of time.

The received collars, identified as A and B, were sectioned axially through
the 0.55/0.54 inch diameter center land which separates the two cylinders, and
along a center longitudinal plane to expose the cylinder surfaces for
examination. Figure 1 shows the sectioned pieces of cylinder A arranged in
situ, revealing the wear patterns in cylinders identified as A1/A2 and A3/A4.
Cylinder A1/A2 exhibited uniform wear on the center land side face that
presumably contacted the piston. On the cylinder surface there were four
significantly worn cylindrical bands, shown in Figure 2. The condition of the
wear bands were uniform over 360; wear band widths, in order from the center
land, measured 3.5, 2.5, 3.0, and 2.7 mm. The maximum amount of wear
occurred in the band proximate to the center land, the amount of material loss
evident in the magnified view of the cylinder cross-section edge in Figure 3.
The degree of wear within this band is believed to have completely removed
the nitrided case. Each wear band exhibited a relatively smooth finish with fine
Summary cont.(p.2/4)
longitudinal scratch marks; there was no evidence of case crushing by high
radial loads exerted by the mating piston. These wear patterns are consistent
with the abrasive action of fine particles present between the oscillating piston
and cylinder.

Cylinder A3/A4 from collar A, shown in Figure 4, displayed nonuniform wear
of the center land side face: Approximately 120 of the center land was
significantly reduced in thickness and exhibited a deformed edge. These
features are clearly shown in the magnified images in Figure 5. The cylinder
surface contained four predominant wear bands with widths that varied
significantly over 360, features indicative of misalignment of the piston relative
to the cylinder axis. Average wear band width, in order from the center land,
measured 7, 7, 3, and 7 mm. The surface of the cylinder wear bands was
similar in condition to the wear bands of the A1/A2 companion cylinder.

The collar B sections are arranged in situ in Figure 6. Wear bands present in
the two cylinders appear more reflective than the wear bands of collar A.
Cylinder B1/B2, shown in Figure 7, exhibits uniform wear on the center land.
Several wear bands present on the cylinder surface are uniform in width over
360 indicating alignment of the piston with the cylinder. The largest
Summary cont.(p.3/4)
band was 7 mm in width, the smallest 1.5 mm wide. Surveys of the wear
bands at 20 to 50x magnification determined that the surfaces were glazed with
longitudinal scratch marks, a condition that would account for the higher
reflectivity of the surface and suggestive of superficial smearing of the surface
concurrent with abrasion by hard particles. These characteristics are shown in
Figure 8. Examination of the edge of the cylinder cross-section edge revealed
that cylinder B1/B2 exhibited the least amount of wear among the four

Companion cylinder B3/B4 is shown in Figure 9. It also experienced uniform
wear on the center land side face; in addition, the center land edge is deformed
presumably as a result of contact with the piston, the deformation evident in the
bottom-left inset of Figure 10. The cylinder surface contained three major wear
bands measuring, in order from the center land, 4, 4, and 1.5 mm in width. At
20 to 50x magnification these bands were found to have a glazed condition and
longitudinal scratches similar to that observed in the cylinder B1/B2 wear
bands. Wear band width and surface condition was constant over 360,
evidence that the piston was aligned with the cylinder axis during operation.
The greatest amount of wear occurred in the 4 mm wide band that adjoined the
1.5 mm band, evident in the top-right inset of Figure 10.
Summary cont.(p.4/4)
1. The cylinder surfaces had experienced significant wear within several
cylindrical bands indicating that the 0.003-inch nitrided case depth was
inadequate to provide satisfactory wear resistance during operation.
Selected locations of the collars will be metallographically prepared for
evaluation of the original nitrided case depth and hardness, and
examination of the wear band surface condition, both the dull and glazed
conditions. To augment wear resistance it is advised to process future part
lots with a 0.008 to 0.010 case depth, commensurate with case depths
specified for gears.
2. One of the four cylinders examined displayed evidence of misalignment
between the piston and the cylinder axis.
3. Wear patterns were characteristic of hard abrasive particles present
between the piston and cylinder wall, but the glazed condition in the collar
B cylinders indicates that some superficial deformation of the cylinder wall
had occurred, possibly by metal-to-metal contact.
Figure 1. Longitudinal cross-section of Y-63700-18-1 collar identified as A:
A1/A2 cylinder shown on left; A3/A4 cylinder on right.
A1 A1
Figure 2. Longitudinal cross-sections of the A1/A2 cylinder from collar A:
Profile views (left); and oblique views (right). Four predominant wear bands
are identified by arrows.
Figure 3. Magnified view of
sectioned edge of A1/A2
cylinder from collar A
revealing the amount of wear
experienced (arrows).
Original inset magnification of
Figure 4. Longitudinal cross-sections of the A3/A4 cylinder from collar A:
Profile views (left); and oblique views (right). Green arrows identify thin wall
section of center land; red arrows identify four predominant wear bands.
A4 A4
Figure 5. Magnified view of
sectioned edge of A3/A4 cylinder
from collar A revealing a
concentration of wear on one side of
the land side face (above right) and a
deformed edge. Original inset
magnification of 20x.
Figure 6. Longitudinal cross-section of Y-63700-18-1 collar identified as B:
B1/B2 cylinder shown on left; B3/B4 cylinder is on right.
Figure 7. Longitudinal cross-sections of the B1/B2 cylinder from collar B:
Profile views (left); and oblique views (right).
B1 B1
Figure 8. Magnified view of
sectioned edge of B1/B2 cylinder
from collar B revealing glazed
bands with longitudinal striations.
Original inset magnifications of 20x.
Figure 9. Longitudinal cross-sections of the B3/B4 cylinder from collar B:
Profile views (left); and oblique views (right).
Figure 10. Magnified views of
sectioned edge of B3/B4 cylinder
from collar B showing details of
wear bands and deformed edge of
center land (yellow arrow). Original
inset magnifications of 20x.
4 mm wear band