Failure of a Weld Due to Cracking in the HAZ
An aircraft fuel-nozzle-support assembly exhibited cracks along the periphery of a fusion weld that attached a support arm to a fairing in a joint that approximated a T-shape in cross section. The base metal was type 321 stainless steel. Examination showed a good-quality weld penetrating to the support arm beneath, but revealed notch configurations at the inner mating surfaces at each edge of the fairing, the result of welding a poor fit-up of the support arm to the fairing. Fractures that originated at the cracks were examined by stereomicroscope and were found to contain fatigue marks that indicated crack propagation from multiple origins at the inner surface of the weld edge. Fatigue cracking was initiated at stress concentrations created by the notches at the inner surfaces between the support arm and the fairing, enhanced by poor fit-up in preparation for welding.