Fatigue Fracture of an Aluminum Alloy 7075-T73 Landing-Gear Torque Arm
The torque-arm assembly (aluminum alloy 7075-T73) for an aircraft nose landing gear failed after 22,779 simulated flights. The part, made from an aluminum alloy 7075-T73 forging, had an expected life of 100,000 simulated flights. Initial study of the fracture surfaces indicated that the primary fracture initiated from multiple origins on both sides of a lubrication hole that extended from the outer surface to the bore of a lug in two cadmium-plated flanged bushings made of copper alloy C63000 (aluminum bronze) that were press-fitted into each bored hole in the lug. Sectioning and 2x metallographic analysis showed small fatigue-type cracks in the hole adjacent to the origin of primary fracture. Hardness and electrical conductivity were typical for aluminum alloy 7075. This evidence supported the conclusion that the arm failed in fatigue cracking that initiated on each side of the lubrication hole since no material defects were found at the failure origin. Recommendations included redesign of the lubrication hole, shot peeing of the faces of the lug for added resistance to fatigue failure, and changing of the forging material to aluminum alloy 7175-T736 for its higher mechanical properties.