Fretting and Corrosion in Aircraft Components
Fretting and/or fretting corrosion fatigue have been observed on such parts as main rotor counterweight tie rods, fixed-pitch propeller blades, propeller blade clamps, pressure regulator lines, and landing gear support brackets. Microcracks started from severe corrosion pits in a failed control rotor spar tube assembly made of cadmium-plated AISI 4130 Cr-Mo alloy steel. Inadequate design was responsible for the failure. A lower tine of the main rotor blade cuff failed in fatigue. The rotor blade cuff was forged of 2014-T6 aluminum alloy. Initial stages of crack growth displayed features typical of low stress intensity fatigue of aluminum alloys. The fatigue resulted from abnormal fretting owing to inadequate torquing of the main retention bolts. Aircraft maintenance engineers and owners were advised to adhere to specifications when torquing this joint.