Failure analysis of A286 carrier panel fasteners
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The observation that carrier panel fasteners recovered from the Columbia appeared to have fractured with minimal macroscopic ductility led to concern that stress-corrosion cracking (SCC) or other age-related degradation processes in the A286 bolts may have been the cause of failure during re-entry. To assess this hypothesis, several recovered fasteners having a brittle fracture appearance and several fasteners that fractured in a more ductile mode were analyzed. The results provided the information necessary to discount the “stress-corrosion” hypothesis and conclude that the fasteners failed by some unidentified tensile load after being weakened by high-temperature grain growth and liquid aluminum attack.
KeywordsA286 stainless steel Columbia fastener high-temperature intergranular
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