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Rotor blades in the compressor section of a J79 engine had failed. Optical, stereoscopic, microhardness testing, and SEM examinations were conducted to determine the cause. The blades were made of STS403 and were used uncoated. They were damaged over an extensive area, from the 15th through the 17th compressor stages, as were stator vanes and casing sections. The fractured surface of the 17th blade showed multiple origins along with secondary cracking and extensive propagation that preceded separation. The metallographic analysis of the microstructure suggested work hardening. Based on the results, the cause of the fractured blade was high-amplitude fatigue due to severe stall. After normal engine usage of five months, the blade fractured sending fragments throughout the combustion and turbine sections.

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