Journal of Failure Analysis and Prevention

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 211–218 | Cite as

Fatigue Cracking of a 3-MW Electric Motor Shaft

  • S. W. Stafford
  • L. TruebaJr.
Case History---Peer-Reviewed


After approximately fifteen months of service, cracking was detected in the journal section of a 3-MW electric motor shaft used to drive a reciprocating gas compressor. A detailed failure analysis revealed sulfide inclusion and quench crack-initiated fatigue cracks. Two crack orientations were observed, axial and angular. The axial cracks are believed to be quench cracks which initiated along sulfide stringers; the angular cracks were found to be high-cycle fatigue cracks emanating from the axial cracks. Recommendations included the use of a reduced sulfur content shaft steel (0.010 wt.% max) and a pre-service non-destructive inspection to detect the presence of quench cracks or other surface imperfections.


Failure analysis Fatigue cracking High-cycle fatigue Inclusions Quench cracking Shafts 


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Copyright information

© ASM International 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Metallurgical and Materials EngineeringThe University of Texas at El PasoEl PasoUSA
  2. 2.Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of Texas of the Permian BasinOdessaUSA

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