An article in progress in « Case Studies in Engineering Failure Analysis », Volume 7 (october 2016).
The formula SAE is a competition among students worldwide, where they are challenged to design, build and test a small formula-type racing car, following rules and specifications defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). In the present analysis, a premature failure of a half-shaft of the transmission system of a racing car occurred after circa 100 km of use. The results show that the alloy steel bar used for the half-shaft did not follow specifications, with a consequent lower strength and resulting in a material with insufficient loading capacity and fatigue resistance. As a consequence, the fracture process was a confluence of torsional fatigue crack propagation and overload ductile fracture through the spline section of the half-shaft.