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A DC-10 in transit from Denver to Chicago experienced failure of the center engine. The titanium compressor disk burst and severed the hydraulics of the plane. Investigation supports the conclusion that the cause of the disk rupture was the presence of a large fatigue crack near the bore emanating from a hard alpha (HA) defect. Such defects can result from occasional upsets during the vacuum melting of titanium. These nitrogen-rich alpha titanium anomalies are brittle and often have associated microcracks and microvoids. A probabilistic damage tolerance approach was recommended to address the anomalies, with the objective of enhancing rotor life management practices. The ongoing work involves the use of fracture mechanics and software (called DARWIN.) optimized for damage tolerant design and analysis of metallic structural components.

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