Dealing with tiny snags

By Mario
Published: Saturday 15 May 1999

Tiny mechanical failures can result in plane crashes. To prevent this, a team from Iowa State University in the US has come out with a new method of detecting metallurgical snags in engine components. The researchers have developed a portable eddy current scanner that will show up hidden defects. The device relies on electronic coils that induce a current in a particular component. The current is disrupted if there are any defects. The team undertook the development of this device after a 1989 plane crash at Sioux City in Iowa. The accident was due to the shattering of a tiny fan disc in a jet engine that resulted in severing of crucial hydraulic lines.

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