Failure of an Oil-Line Subassembly Because of Poor Welding
Several elbow subassemblies comprising segments of oil-line assemblies that recycled aircraft-engine oil from pump to filter broke in service. The components of the subassemblies were made of aluminum alloy 6061-T6. Two subassemblies were returned to the laboratory to determine cause of failure. In one, the threaded boss had separated from the elbow at the weld. In the other, the failure was by fracture of the elbow near the flange. The separation of the threaded boss from the elbow was due to a poor welding procedure. Crack propagation was accelerated by fatigue caused by cyclic service stresses. The fracture of the second elbow near the flange was caused by overaging during repair welding of the boss weld. Satisfactory weld penetration was achieved by improved training of the welders plus more careful inspection. Repair welding was prohibited, to avoid recurrence of overaging from the welding heat. Additional support for the oil line was installed to reduce vibration and minimize fatigue of the elbow.