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An outer fan-duct assembly of titanium alloy Ti-5Al-2.5Sn (AMS 4910) for a gas-turbine fan section cracked 75 mm (3 in.) circumferentially through a repair weld in an arc weld in the front flange-duct segment. Examination of the crack with a binocular microscope revealed no evidence of fatigue. A blue etch-anodize inspection showed the presence of an alpha case along the edges of the repair weld. The alpha case, a brittle oxide-enriched layer, forms when welds are inadequately shielded from the atmosphere during deposition. The brittleness of this layer caused transgranular cracks to form and propagate in tension under the thermal stresses created by the repair-weld heat input. The crack resulted from contamination and embrittlement of a repair weld that had received inadequate gas shielding. Thermal stresses cracked the oxide-rich layer that formed. The gas-shielding accessories of the welding torch were overhauled to ensure that leak-in or entrainment of air was eliminated. Also, the purity of the shielding-gas supplies was rechecked to make certain that these had not become contaminated.

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