Failure Analysis and Fractography of a Failed Repair Weld on a Trailer Axle

Monday, October 16, 2023: 4:20 PM
321 (Huntington Convention Center)
Dr. Jeff Stewart, Ph. D. , Exponent, Phoenix, AZ
Dr. Joseph Lemberg, Ph.D., P.E. , Exponent, Inc., Atlanta, GA
Dr. Nikolay Semenikhin, Ph. D., P.E. , Exponent, Atlanta, GA
A spindle on a trailer fractured, leading to a catastrophic failure and release of a
wheelset while the trailer was in motion. Analysis of the failed spindle indicated that fracture
initiated at a poorly executed weld placed in an attempt to restore the spindle profile following a
dent. The weld demonstrated severe porosity and lack of fusion, likely as a result of the weld
being performed on a dirty surface and poor placement of the weld. The poor weld quality led to
the presence of crack initiation sites, which subsequently grew in fatigue until catastrophic
failure occurred under typical operating conditions
The results of the inspection and analysis of the welded axle component failure will be presented.
Visual inspection, optical microscopy, and SEM analysis were performed to characterize the
fracture morphologies and weld quality. Electron dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) was also
conducted for localized semi-quantitative chemical analysis. Finally, hardness data was collected
in the weld, heat-affected zone (HAZ), and base metal regions.
See more of: WELDING & JOINING
See more of: Failure Analysis