An automobile rear axle broke at the differential end when the vehicle collided with a tree at about 35 m.p.h. The fracture surfaces exhibited features characteristic of both bending impact and torsional overload. It was concluded that the fracture started as a bending impact when the frontal collision forced the entire drive system rearward. The fracture was completed by torsional overload when the drive system locked and the wheel continued to turn.

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