Failure Analysis of Gearbox and Clutch Shaft from a Marine Engine

Research paper by S. F. Hassan, M. R. Alam

Indexed on: 23 Jun '10Published on: 23 Jun '10Published in: Journal of Failure Analysis and Prevention


This article presents metallurgical failure analysis of a gearbox shaft and a clutch shaft from a marine engine. The gearbox shaft was made of low alloy steel, and the clutch shafts were components made of carbon steel. Fracture surface examination revealed circumferential ratchet marks with the presence of inward progressive beach marks suggesting rotary-bending fatigue failure in the case of gearbox shaft. The star-shaped pattern on the clutch shaft fracture surface suggested that the failure was due to torsional overloading which might have initiated at corrosion pits visible around the fracture surface. The gearbox shaft experienced rotational bending stresses which induced fatigue failure because the fatigue strength of the alloy was too low. The fatigue failure of the gearbox shaft led to the torsional failure of the corroded clutch shaft. The sudden, high level failure load on the clutch shaft occurred when the gear box shaft failed.