This paper evaluates changes in the behavior of aircraft materials which result from aging and/or corrosion that occurs during long periods of service usage. The primary objective was to determine whether damage tolerant analyses for older aircraft should employ updated properties that more accurately represent the current state of the material, or if the virgin material properties continue to properly characterize the aged/corroded alloy. Specifically, tensile stress-strain curves, cyclic stress life (SN) tests, and fatigue crack growth tests were used to characterize the “aged aircraft” material. These properties were compared with handbook properties for virgin material of the same pedigree. The aluminum alloys tested were obtained from fuselage and wing panels of retired KC-135 aircraft. Computer controlled tests were conducted using specimens machined from the retired aircraft components. Different configurations were used to observe the effects of aging and/or corrosion on material behavior. In the crack growth specimens, various levels of corrosion were observed, thus the crack growth rates could be categorized as a function of the level of corrosion present. The SN and da/dN-ΔK curves for the “aged” only materials were compared with the fatigue properties of virgin material of the same alloy. Similar comparisons were performed for the tensile stress-strain properties.

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