Fatigue Cracking That Originated at a Material Defect in a Forged Aircraft Wheel Half
A commercial aircraft wheel half, machined from an aluminum alloy 2014 forging that had been heat treated to the T6 temper, was removed from service because a crack was discovered in the area of the grease-dam radius during a routine inspection. Neither the total number of landings nor the roll mileage was reported, but about 300 days had elapsed between the date of manufacture and the date the wheel was removed from service. The analysis (visual inspection, macrographs, micrographs, electron microprobe) supported the conclusions that the wheel half failed by fatigue. The fatigue crack originated at a material imperfection and progressed in more than one plane because changes in the direction of wheel rotation altered the direction of the applied stresses. Recommendations included rewriting the inspection specifications to require sound forgings.