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After completing a fatigue test of an aluminum alloy component machined from a 7079-T6 forging, technicians noted a 5 in. crack which ran longitudinally above and through the flange. When the fracture face was examined by light microscopy, observers could not ascertain the exact mode of fracture. Electron fractography revealed that five different modes of crack growth were operative as the part failed. Region 1 was a shallow zone (about 0.002 in. at its deepest) of dimpled structure typical of an overload failure. Region 2 was a zone that grew by a stress corrosion mechanism. Through a fatigue mechanism...

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