Vicente Capito

Improper inspection
● Deviations from approved tolerances
● Deviations from acceptance standards
● Wrong techniques
● Nonadherence to schedules of inspection and calibration of inspection tools
● Shortcuts to meet targets
2.4 Inspection and Maintenance
Inspection is an important stage in the manufacture of a component before it is
released for the end use, and periodical inspection is necessary for monitoring
the health of a component and the structure of which it forms a part. By proper
inspection procedures, it was possible to reject defective structural members in
an aircraft industry and obtain free replacement from the suppliers.
Example: Blisters in Aluminum Alloy Extrusions. In one batch of aluminum alloy
extrusions to be used for aircraft wing roots, blisters (Fig. 2.22) were noticed
during inspection. They were found to increase in number and size after a
solution heat treatment. A section through the extrusion, after metallographic
polishing, indicated holes near the surface, about to open up as cavities (Fig.
2.23). Such blisters are formed due to the presence of hydrogen picked up during
melting. Proper degassing would eliminate this problem. Good inspection
procedures helped in detecting these in time and obtaining free replacements.
Use of blistered extrusions could have led to initiation of cracks in the structure.
Example: Infrequent Inspection:

The darkened patter of a quench crack, seam, or other discontinuity
may be mistaken for a benchmark or fatigue area after fracture,
thus leading to incorrect diagnosis. Careful study of the surface of
the dis continuity, depending on its condition, and also of a
metallographic section of the edge of the metal perpendicular to
the discontinuity may lead to the conclusion that it is not fatigue
but rather a seam or forging lap, for example, with decarburization
on its surface. In all such cases, do not leap to conclusions. Make a
careful study before deciding the true cause of the problem.

Operation, service abnormalities, and abuses
● Inadequate lubrication
● Improper cleaning
● Nonadherence to operating instructions
a. Overspeeding
b. Overloading
c. Ill-trained operators
● Unexpected service conditions
● Temperature and stress excursions
● Vibrations
● Changes in environment

Tensile stresses are usually inevitable during Service loading, depending
on the type of part or structure. However, care can be taken to ensure

However. and people are inherently defensive. The reaction of those environments with the part is an extremely important factor that may be overlooked in failure analyses. Also. if that limit is exceeded. What is the general condition of the mechanism? If it is a candidate for the scrap pile. This is particularly true when shrinkage stresses from welding are involved. because use of improper lubricants can be extremely damaging to certain mechanisms. Service Conditions. or other conditions. the following questions should be considered: a. corrosive environments. as well as to the seals and gaskets that are intended to keep them from leaking. it is more likely to have problems than if it is relatively new. depending on the type of part or structure. d. Is there evidence that the mechanism was over speeded or overloaded? Every type of mechanism has a design capacity or rated load. b. smells.Vicente Capito that damaging tensile residual stresses are eliminated or minimized. Did the mechanism or structure receive normal maintenance with the recommended materials? This is particularly important when lubricants are involved in the failure. If service is abnormal as a result of excessive overloading. problems frequently arise. But it is extremely important to question the operator of a mechanism and other witnesses to a fracture or accident to determine if there were any unusual occurrences. fumes. This is particularly true when shrinkage stresses from welding are involved. or other happenings that could help explain the problem. such as strange noises. Environmental effects ● Various types of chemical corrosion ● Stress corrosion ● Corrosion fatigue ● Erosion Every part in every assembly in every mechanism has been exposed to several environments during its history. Is there evidence that the mechanism was abused during service or used under conditions for which it was not intended? c. 9. This is a difficult area to investigate because people are involved. . ENVIRONMENTAL REACTIONS. Tensile stresses are usually inevitable during Service loading. the possibility of fatigue fracture is increased. care can be taken to ensure that damaging tensile residual stresses are eliminated or minimized.

None of a. Occasionally this processes quite simple. in which exposure to a critical corrosive environment can cause cracking while the surface of the part carries a tensile stress—applied and/or residual. result in fracture due to hydrogen embrittlement or formation of blisters on the surface. something frightening happened on Commercial Street in Boston. low temperatures may initiate uncontrolled phase changes that may cause problems. and service. 1919. This involves formulating a hypothesis of the sequence of events that culminated in fracture. relatively low temperatures for the metal can result in brittle fracture of normally ductile metals with no change in microstructure. storage. fractured catastrophically. and over two million gallons of molasses cascaded into the streets. Similarly. shipping. the previous work will serve as a guide. more often it is frustratingly difficult. under certain conditions. either orally or in a carefully written report to the appropriate persons. Hydrogen exposure can. . along with recommendations to prevent the observed type of fracture in the future. 90 feet in diameter and about 50 feet high. adhesive wear. What Chemical reactions could have taken place with the part during its history? These include the many varieties of corrosion and possible exposure to hydrogen (such as during acid pickling. Another situation sometimes encountered is stress-corrosion cracking. b. Problems frequently arise as a result of localized electrical arcing. In either instance the facts of the situation must be set forth. which may cause melting and/or heat treatment of a very small area of the surface. To what thermal conditions has the part been subjected during its existence? This can involve abnormally high temperatures. electroplating. A huge tank. If a similar situation arises in the future.Vicente Capito The problems relating to the environment can arise anywhere in the history of the part: manufacturing. All pertinent information must be documented thoroughly with carefully prepared photographs and other records that should be retained for a number of years. Also. or other instances where frictional heat is encountered. grinding damage. SABOTAGE Sabotage ● Deliberate damage by antisocial acts ● Mechanical damages ● Explosive sabotage On January 15. Such accidental and uncontrolled heat treatment can have disastrous results. Following study of the fractured part or parts with consideration of the aforementioned subjects—along with others that inevitably arise— it is necessary to reach a conclusion about the reason for the observed fracture. and certain types of Service). maintenance. assembly.

which was of riveted construction. and a firehouse was crushed in by a section of the tank. This storage tank. the fractured plates had normal ductility. and others had to be shot (Ref 3). Many horses belonging to the paving department were drowned.. and the disaster itself were subsequently the subjects of a long investigation and trial in which the leading experts of the day tried to prove that: (a) the accident was the result of structural failure. where the employees were at lunch. in which case insurance would cover the monetary loss.and forced back under the structure. which fractured in 1941 at its out fitting dock. When tested.. over 200 other ships had partial brittle fractures of the hull.Vicente Capito Without an instant’s warming the top was blown into the air and the sides were burst apart. because of other sabotage in the area.. 1 New T-2 tanker. Schenectady. This ship was one of 19 during World War II that had completely brittle fractures.. the 5. such as by a bomb planted in or near the tank. smothering. A city building nearby. The latter was a real possi bility at the time. Source: Ref 1 column was completely sheared off. Forty more were injured.5. . On collapsing.Twelve persons lost their lives either by drowning in molasses. as specified.]. the track was pushed out of alignment and the super structure dropped several feet. or by wreckage. a side of the tank was carried against one of the columns supporting the elevated structure [of the Boston Elevated Railway Co.. killing and injuring a number of firemen. collapsed burying a number of victims.. This Fig.. or (b) that the accident was the result of sabotage.