A three-dimensional stress analysis of a 30-mm machine gun component on the Harrier Aircraft was conducted to investigate the cause of observed fractures. The analysis was made using a general purpose finite element computer program and a laboratory environmental test chamber. Based on this study, the probable cause of failure was identified and, as a result, the component manufacturer is considering possible design changes to alleviate this problem in further production. The study clearly demonstrates that computer-based technology can be successfully used in investigating causes of failure in complex structural components.

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