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The floors (fabricated from aluminum alloy 7178-T6 sheet, with portions of the sheet chemically milled to reduce thickness) of the fuel tanks in two aircraft failed almost identically after 1076 and 1323 h of service, respectively. Failure in both tanks occurred in the rear chemically milled section of the floor. An alkaline etch-type cleaner was used on the panels before chemical milling and before painting. Various tests and measurements indicated that the aluminum alloy used for the fuel-tank floors conformed to the specifications for 7178-T6. Low power magnification, fractographs taken with a scanning electron, and optical microscopic examination of...

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