Service fatigue cracking in an aircraft bulkhead exposed to a corrosive environment


This paper presents a supporting case study that examines fatigue cracks that were detected in an F/A-18 Hornet bulkhead during post-service testing and teardown. The in-service phase of the cracking had significant evidence of oxidation on their surfaces which indicated an exposure to a mildly corrosive environment. Both the service and laboratory phases of the cracking were the subject of quantitative fractography and estimates of the crack growth rates were made. A comparison of the in-service and the in-test phases of crack growth indicated that no notable effect on the service part of the fatigue crack could be attributed to its exposure to the service environment.

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