Corrosion Fatigue of Aircraft Nose Wheels
Four nose wheels fabricated from 2014-T6 aluminum alloy and cold worked at the flange were examined. Visual examination showed that the failure started in the tube well area on the wheel with serial number 31. The failure initiated in the flange fillet on wheels with serial numbers 67, 217, and 250. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) examination of the fractures showed that failure initiated by SCC or a corrosion pit on all failures examined. The failures then progressed by fatigue. Dye penetrant testing revealed no additional flaws on the wheels that had failed in the flange area. There was, however, one flaw area in the flange of the wheel that failed in the tube well. This flaw resembled a corrosion pit. It was concluded that failure of nose wheels 67, 217, and 250 was caused by cracking due to SCC or pitting. The failures progressed by fatigue. Because failure occurred in the same general area on all three wheels, these locations are suspect as being underdesigned. It was recommended that the nose wheel be redesigned and additional service data be accumulated to understand the contributing factors that resulted in wheel failure.