Intergranular Cracking in an Air Bottle Because of Torch Overheating Before Welding
An air bottle, machined from a solid block of aluminum alloy 2219-T852, displayed liquid-penetrant crack indications after assembly welding. The air bottle was machined to rough shape, a 3.8 mm (0.15 in.) wall thickness cylindrical cup with a 19 mm (3/4 in.) wall thickness integral boss on one side. After annealing, hot spinning, annealing a second time, and tack welding a port fitting, the assembly was torch preheated to 120 to 150 deg C (250 to 300 deg F). The port fitting was then welded in place. Final full heat treatment to the T62 temper was followed by machining, testing, and inspection. The crack indications were found only on one side of the boss and on the lower portion of the hot-spun dome region. The metallographic specimens revealed triangular voids and severe intergranular cracks. The cracks displayed the glossy surfaces typical of melted and resolidified material. The localized cracks in the air bottle were from grain-boundary eutectic melting caused by local torch overheating used in preparation for assembly welding of a port fitting. A change in design was scheduled to semiautomatic welding without the use of preheating for the joining of the port fitting for the dome opening.