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A turbine blade in an aircraft engine failed, fracturing at the root above the fir tree region. Fractography indicated that a fatigue crack initiated at the trailing edge of the blade and the final fracture occurred when the crack reached critical length. Although the exact cause of crack initiation could not be established, material defects, improper root loading, and high operating temperatures were ruled out. This chapter describes how investigators came to their conclusions and what they learned through visual and SEM examination and qualitative elemental analysis. It includes images of the microstructure and fracture surfaces and explains what some of the details reveal about the failure.

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