An AMS 4126 (7075-T6) aluminum alloy impeller from a radial inflow turbine fractured during commissioning. Initial examination showed that two adjacent vanes had fractured through airfoils in the vicinity of the vane leading edges, and one vane fractured through an airfoil near the hub in the vicinity of the vane trailing edge. Some remaining vanes exhibited radial and transverse cracks in similar locations. Binocular and scanning electron microscope examinations showed that the cracks had been caused by high-cycle fatigue and had progressed from multiple origins on the vane surface. Structural analysis indicated that the fatigue loading probably had been caused by forced excitation, resulting in the impeller vibrating at its resonant frequency. It was recommended that the impeller design, control systems, and material of construction be changed.
Anthony A. Tipton, Fatigue Failure of an Aluminum Turbine Impeller, Handbook of Case Histories in Failure Analysis, Vol 2, Edited By Khlefa A. Esaklul, ASM International, 1993, p 329–332, https://doi.org/10.31399/asm.fach.v02.c9001366
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