Fatigue Failure of an Inlet Header Because of Poor Welding Technique and Unfavorable Weld-Joint Design
While undergoing vibration testing, a type 347 stainless steel inlet header for a fuel-to-air heat exchanger cracked in the header tube adjacent to the weld bead between the tube and header duct. Investigation (visual inspection and liquid penetrant inspection) supported the conclusion that the crack in the header tube was the result of a stress concentration at the toe of the weld joining a doubler collar to the tube. The stress concentration was caused by undercutting from poor welding technique and an unfavorable joint design that did not permit a good fit-up. Recommendations included manufacturing the doubler collar so that it could be placed in intimate contact with the header duct, and a revised weld procedure was recommended to result in a smaller, controlled, homogeneous weld joint with less distortion.