Journal of Failure Analysis and Prevention

, Volume 12, Issue 6, pp 594–603 | Cite as

Cracking of a Tool Steel Guide Roller in a Bar Mill

  • Goutam Mukhopadhyay
  • Sandip Bhattacharyya
Case History---Peer-Reviewed


Failure analysis of a guide roller used in a bar mill of an integrated steel plant has been presented. The guide rollers are positioned at the entry of rolling stands and act as guide in the multi-grooved pass for aligning the hot bars and hold the twisted oval bar while it enters a round pass. The hot bar is at a temperature of ≈1100°C, and the rollers are water cooled. The component is subjected to cyclic thermal stress depending on the mill operating conditions. The rollers are cracking longitudinally leading to failure. The investigation consists of visual inspection, chemical analysis, fractography, characterization of microstructures using optical and scanning electron microscopes (SEM), energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) analysis, and measurement of micro-hardness. The chemical analysis indicates the material as AISI D2 grade of cold work tool steel. Visual observation of the failed component shows multiple longitudinal cracks on the roller surface associated with a dark circular band of oxidation. The fracture surface shows a dark oxidized area propagating from the roller surface followed by flat bright appearance indicating final brittle fracture. Fractography of the dark surface from where the crack initiates shows fatigue striations. Microstructural examination under optical and SEM shows a network of coarse carbide particles at the grain boundary as well as uniformly distributed fine carbide precipitates within the martensite matrix. Multiple cracks are observed to initiate and propagate from the surface through the clusters of grain boundary carbides. EDS analysis and elemental mapping suggest the carbides to be chromium carbides. SEM shows micro-cracking of carbide particles associated with the crack. Clustered distribution of carbides deteriorates toughness and initiates cracking at the roller surface subjected to thermal cycling because of their differential thermal expansion coefficient leading to the failure of the component.


Bar mill Guide roller AISI D2 tool steel Carbide network Thermal fatigue 


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Copyright information

© ASM International 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Metallurgical Laboratories and QA Group, R&D and Scientific ServicesTata Steel Ltd.JamshedpurIndia

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