Corrosion Failure of Wing Flap Hinge Bearings
Three wing flap hinge bearings were received by the laboratory for analysis. The bearings were fabricated from chromium-plated type 440C martensitic stainless steel. The intergranular fracture pattern seen in the electron fractographs, coupled with the corrosion pits observed on the inner diam of the bearings, strongly suggested that failure initiated by pitting and progressed by SCC or hydrogen embrittlement from the plating operation. It was recommended that the extent of the flap hinge bearing cracking problem be determined by using nondestructive inspection because it is possible to crack hardened type 440C during the chromium plating process. An inspection for pitting on the bearing inner diam was also recommended. It was suggested that electroless nickel be used as a coating for the entire bearing. A review of the chromium plating and baking sequence was recommended also to ensure that a source of hydrogen is not introduced during the plating operation.