Stress-Corrosion Cracking of Aircraft Hinge Brackets
Forged aluminum alloy 2014-T6 hinge brackets in naval aircraft rudder and aileron linkages were found cracked in service. The cracks were in the hinge lugs, adjacent to a bushing made of cadmium-plated 4130 steel. Investigation (visual inspection and 250X micrographs) supported the conclusion that the failure of the hinge brackets occurred by SCC. The corrosion was caused by exposure to a marine environment in the absence of paint in stressed areas due to chipping. The stress resulted from the interference fit of the bushing in the lug hole. Recommendations included inspecting all hinge brackets in service for cracks and for proper maintenance of paint. Also suggested was replacing the aluminum alloy 2015-T6 with alloy 7075-T6, and surface treatment for the 7075-T6 brackets was recommended using sulfuric acid anodizing and dichromate sealing. Finally, it was also recommended that the interference fit of the bushing in the lug hole be discontinued.