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Failure Analysis of Cooling Duct of Top Engine Cowl Panel of Fighter Aircraft


Present work describes the failure analysis of cooling duct of a fighter aircraft. The analyzed chemical composition of cooling duct indicates that it is manufactured from Al-based alloy (AA 3003 or its equivalent). Microstructure of cooling duct displays the presence of two phases namely, matrix and insoluble particles. The hardness values at different locations within damaged area of cooling duct reflect nearly same and consistent. The fracture surface of the cooling duct exhibits transgranular features and cracks with little branching. The analyzed hydrogen content in cooling duct is significantly higher (∼ 12 ppm) than the specified one (< 1 ppm). However, the alloy used to fabricate cooling duct is not susceptible to typical hydrogen embrittlement. This shows hydrogen pick up during operation. The presence of cracks with branching does reflect features of hydrogen embrittlement. In addition, striations indicative of fatigue features are also observed. It thus appears that the cooling duct has failed due to pick up of large amount of hydrogen as well as vibrational fatigue.

Funding source: Defence Research and Development Organisation
Countries: India

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