Cracking of Aircraft Pylon Strut
Examination of a 7075-T6 aluminum alloy pylon strut revealed cracks in two locations on the ears of the strut. Because the part was still intact, the cracks had to be forced open so that the fractures could be examined. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) of the opened cracks showed that the crack surfaces were covered with a mud crack pattern suggestive of stress-corrosion cracking (SCC). The T6 temper is susceptible to SCC. It was concluded that cracking of the strut could have been aggravated by the hard landing experienced by the aircraft. The strut, however, contained stress-corrosion cracks which were present before the landing. It was recommended that an inspection for SCC be made of all pylon struts with a similar service life.