May 2015 Issue

All Stressed Out

Even metal can get tired, and as our airplanes age, we need to understand how time-related failures can occur.

Bolts, screws, rivets and skin—they keep all the parts flying in formation. When they are properly tightened and well fitted, with metal specifications, thread pitches and torques all carefully considered, you and your aircraft parts should land simultaneously. Despite the best care of aircraft designers and mechanics, however, aviation does not always proceed according to expectation. Component failure, the culmination of repeated stresses known as metal fatigue, can mean you and your parts landing in different locations, a situation best avoided.

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