Cracks in Forged Aircraft Wheel Halves That Originated From Forging Defects
Two outboard main-wheel halves (aluminum alloy 2014-T6 forged) from a commercial aircraft were removed from service because of failure. One wheel half was in service for 54 days and had made 130 landings (about 1046 roll km, or 650 roll mi) when crack indications were discovered during eddy-current testing. The flange on the second wheel half failed after only 31 landings, when about 46 cm (18 in.) of the flange broke off as the aircraft was taxiing. Stains on the fracture surfaces were used to determine when cracking was initiated. The analysis (visual inspection, liquid penetrant inspection, and micrographs with deep etching in aqueous 20% sodium hydroxide) supported the conclusion that failure on both wheel halves was by fatigue caused by a forging defect resulting from abnormal transverse grain flow. The crack in the first wheel half occurred during service, and the surfaces became oxidized. Because the fracture surface of the second wheel half had chromic acid stains, it was obvious that the forging defect was open to the surface during anodizing. No recommendations were made except to notify the manufacturer.