Music wire springs used in a printer return mechanism failed near the bend in the hook portion of the spring during qualification testing. Samples were examined in a scanning electron microscope equipped with an energy-dispersive x-ray microprobe. Fatigue fractures originated at rub marks on the inside edge of the spring. An investigation of loads encountered in service indicated that the springs had been loaded to a large fraction of the yield strength. Redesign of the spring mechanism was recommended.
A missile detached from a Navy fighter jet during a routine landing on an aircraft carrier deck because of a faulty missile launcher detent spring. Visual inspection of Inconel 718 detent spring assembly revealed that four of the nine spring leafs comprising the assembly were plastically deformed while two of the deformed leafs did not meet minimal hardness or tensile requirements. Liquid penetrant testing revealed no cracks or other surface discontinuities on the leaf springs. Material sectioned from the soft spring leafs was heat-treated according to specifications in the laboratory. The resultant increase in mechanical properties of the re-heat-treated material indicated that the original heat treatment was not performed correctly. The failure was attributed to improper heat treatment. Recommendations focused on more stringent quality control of the heat-treat operations.