Sustainment issues associated with military helicopters have drawn attention to the growth of small cracks under a helicopter flight load spectrum. One particular issue is how to simplify (reduce) a measured spectrum to reduce the time and complexity of full-scale helicopter fatigue tests. Given the costs and the time scales associated with performing tests, a means of computationally assessing the effect of a reduced spectrum is desirable. Unfortunately, whilst there have been a number of studies into how to perform a damage tolerant assessment of helicopter structural parts there is currently no equivalent study into how to perform the durability analysis needed to determine the economic life of a helicopter component. To this end, the present paper describes a computational study into small crack growth in AA7075-T7351 under several (reduced) helicopter flight load spectra. This study reveals that the Hartman-Schijve (HS) variant of the NASGRO crack growth equation can reasonably accurately compute the growth of small naturally occurring cracks in AA7075-T7351 under several simplified variants of a measured Black Hawk flight load spectra.
- FALSTAFF flight load spectra
- Fatigue crack growth
- Helicopter flight load spectra
- Small cracks