Journal of Failure Analysis and Prevention

, Volume 9, Issue 5, pp 470–478 | Cite as

Failure Analysis of High-Speed Pinion Gear Shaft

  • W. Muhammad
  • N. Ejaz
  • S. A. Rizvi
Technical Article---Peer-Reviewed


The failure of a high-speed pinion gear shaft was investigated. The pinion gear was an integral part of a system used to compress the natural gas. It was a high-speed gear mounted on two roller bearings. An abnormal wear pattern was observed on the shaft surface, beneath the inner race of the bearing. The material from shaft was observed to be dislodged and stuck to the surface of the inner race. This transfer of material imparted an imbalance to the assembly, and abnormal sounds and fumes were observed two days before failure. The macrofeatures of the fracture surface resemble these of fatigue but electron microscopy showed brittle and mostly intergranular fracture. Fatigue features such as striations were not found on the fracture surfaces. Fatigue samples made from the same material and heat-treated to the same hardness were tested under uniaxial fatigue and the fracture features were compared with the original crack surface. The microfeatures of fracture surfaces were almost identical. The root cause of failure was determined to be fatigue, and cracks on the pinion shaft in the region beneath the inner bearing race lead to the transfer of material.


AISI 4145 Pinion shaft Concentric scoring Torsional fatigue Intergranular cracking 


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Copyright information

© ASM International 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Metallurgy DivisionRawalpindiPakistan

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