This article deals with an investigation to determine the root cause of the differences noted in the fatigue test data of main rotor spindle assembly retaining rods fabricated from three different materials. The US Army Research Laboratory - Materials Directorate (ARL) subjected the failed tie rods to visual examination and light optical microscopy and then performed dimensional verification and measured the respective surface roughness of the rods in an effort to identify any discrepancies. Next, mechanical testing (hardness, fatigue, and tensile) was performed, followed by metallography, and chemical analysis. Finally, the ARL performed laboratory heat treatments at the required aging temperature. The results suggested that the difference in performance could not be directly linked to chemical composition, dimensional intolerance, surface roughness or any metallographic variance and that the likely explanation for the difference observed in the mechanical performance of materials lies within a variation of the heat treatment.

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