The news correspondents obtained a quote from the research, "Therefore, the aim of this study is to investigate and identify the root cause of a repetitive premature failure in an aircraft engine CH. The piston engine of the training aircraft Utva-75 has malfunctioned during the flight due to the cracking of its aluminum cast CH. It has been the second engine failure of this type of aircraft due to the cracking in the CH in a very short span of time. From the visual examination of the mating fracture surfaces, it has been possible to observe typical beach and ratchet marks indicating the occurrence of fatigue failure. The crack has initiated from multiple origins located on the inner flange fillet on the exhaust side of the CH. Further examinations by using scanning electron microscopy as well as energy dispersive spectroscopy and metallography have shown that the fatigue had promoted from pre-existing material defect due to a high concentration of shrinkage pores at the initiation crack site and can be most likely associated with the manufacturing process of casting. The stress analysis of the cylinder assembly, carried out by means of finite element analysis, has also confirmed that the crack origin was located at the most stressed area of the cylinder assembly i.e. on the inner flange fillet of the exhaust side of the CH."
According to the news reporters, the research concluded: "This case study, together with the other recently reported, has definitely confirmed the repetitive and therefore systematic problems with the CH of air cooled, horizontally opposed, aircraft piston engines."
For more information on this research see: An investigation of the repetitive failure in an aircraft engine cylinder head. Engineering Failure Analysis, 2013;34():335-349. Engineering Failure Analysis can be contacted at:
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