Aircraft Attachment Bolt Failure
During a routine inspection on an aircraft assembly line, an airframe attachment bolt was found to be broken. The bolt was one of 12 that attach the lower outboard longeron to the wing carry-through structure. Failure occurred on the right-hand forward bolt in this longeron splice attachment. The bolt was fabricated from PH13-8Mo stainless steel heat treated to have an ultimate tensile strength of 1517 to 1655 MPa (220 to 240 ksi). A water-soluble coolant was used in drilling the bolt hole where this fastener was inserted. Investigation (visual inspection, 265 SEM images, hardness testing, auger emission spectroscopy and secondary imaging spectroscopy, tensile testing, and chemical analysis) supported the conclusion that failure of the attachment bolt was caused by stress corrosion. The source of the corrosive media was the water-soluble coolant used in boring the bolt holes. Recommendations included inspecting for corrosion all the bolts that were installed using the water-soluble coolant at the spliced joint areas, rinsing all machined bolt holes with a noncorrosive agent, and installing new PH13-8Mo stainless steel bolts with a polysulfide wet sealant.