Fracture Mechanics in the Design, Manufacture and Maintenance of Mining Equipment

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 70, No. 787, 1977

H. W. Wevers, Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario

Fatigue failure and accompanying brittle failure occurs frequently in heavy mining equipment. This paper discusses how fracture mechanics can be applied as a tool for crack control and crack management. Information is provided to determine if particular components are prone to brittle failure. By using existing fracture mechanics formula, an estimation of the critical crack size can then be made. It is explained that for a successful application of fracture mechanics, both the actual engineering stress in the component and the mechanical properties of the applied material must be known. The importance of toughness at low temperatures is quantitatively illustrated by calculating critical crack sizes at room temperature and at below-zero temperatures. Understanding the possibilities of fracture mechanics will also produce a climate in which the purchaser of equipment can more precisely analyze the relative quality of components with respect to crack tolerance and failure prevention. In this manner, communication between the user and manufacturer of equipment may also become more precise and effective, leading to improved design.
Keywords: Equipment, Maintenance, Fracture mechanics, Mining equipment, Fatigue failure, Brittle failure, Steel, Trucks, Spindles, Shovels.