Cracking in an Aircraft Main Landing Gear Sliding Strut
Examination of several fighter aircraft main landing gear legs revealed unusual cracking in the hard chromium plating that covered the sliding section of the inner strut. The cracking was associated with cracks in the 35 NCD 16 steel beneath the plating. A detailed investigation revealed that the cracking was caused by the combination of incorrect grinding procedure, the presence of hydrogen, and fatigue. The grinding damage generated tensile stresses in the steel, which caused intergranular cracking during the plating cycle. The intergranular cracks were initiation sites for fatigue crack growth during service. It was recommended that the damaged undercarriage struts be withdrawn from service pending further analysis and development of a repair technique.