Fatigue Fracture of a Spindle for a Helicopter Blade
The spindle of a helicopter-rotor blade fractured after 7383 h of flight service. At every overhaul (the spindle that failed was overhauled six times and reworked twice), any spindle that showed wear was reworked by grinding the shank to 0.1 mm (0.004 in.) under the finished diam. The spindle was then shot peened with S170 shot to an Almen intensity of 0.010 to 0.012 A. Following shot peening, the shank was nickel sulfamate plated to 0.05 mm (0.002 in.) over the finished diam, ground to finished size, and cadmium plated. Visual and stereomicroscopic exam showed faint grinding marks and circumferential grooves on the surface near the fillet at the junction of the shank and fork, which should have been peened over and covered with peening dimples. Evidence found supports the conclusions that the spindle failed in fatigue that originated near the junction of the shank and fork. The nonuniformity of the shot-peened effect on the shank and fillet portions of the spindle resulted from incomplete peeing. The fracture was of the low-stress high-cycle type, initiated by stresses well below the gross yield strength and propagated by thousands of load cycles. No recommendations were made.