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Aircraft Wheel Eddy Current Inspection Simplified

aircraft wheel eddy current inspection

Aircraft wheels can be exposed to an exceptional amount of stress and heat, especially during take-off and landing. Because of this, they can also be highly prone to failure with the development of thermal or fatigue-induced cracks. So, similar to any other aircraft components like wings or engine turbines, the wheels also require a thorough inspection to identify any flaws for quality assurance.

To identify flaws in aircraft wheel assembly, eddy current array (ECA) has been one of the most popular non-destructive testing (NDT) technologies. However, for a conventional rigid probe, the complex geometry of the wheel can present some obstacles in the inspection. Flexible ECA probes can help provide the much-needed adaptability to inspect wheels of all size ranges. Such probes in the aviation industry can help with precision and time-saving for cost-effective aircraft wheel eddy current inspection. 

Identifying Potential Risks with Eddy Current Inspection

The aircraft wheels—mostly forged from aluminum or magnesium alloy—require a thorough inspection of the entire wheel assembly. The internal and external wheel halves can be prone to flaws such as cracking or heat damage due to exposure to intense braking force and variations in temperature. 

Magnetic particle testing or visual inspection can be used to inspect aircraft wheels for potential flaws but leveraging eddy current array technology can offer more accuracy and simplicity. There are issues that can arise that may not be able to be detected from a visual inspection or through magnetic particle testing. These issues may include:   

  • Corrosion, occurring where moisture gets trapped.
  • The wheel bead seat area, the contact between the tire and wheel, gets exposed to high stress during landing. Rough landings can give rise to issues like cracks and distortion.
  • The tie bolts in the wheel are also exposed to extreme stress, inducing cracks.

Eddy current array technology is ideal for detecting surface and subsurface cracks as well as corrosions in the structure. Any change in the amplitude of the eddy current can be identified by the ECA probes as a potential change in thickness or an indicator of cracks in the wheel hub.

Flexible Probe for Detailed Aircraft Wheel Eddy Current Inspection

One of the issues with the inspection of the aircraft wheel is its geometry. The wheels used across the aviation industry have different sizes, i.e., different wheel designs with varying radius and circumferences can be available. Inspection of these wide ranges of wheels can be difficult for a conventional rigid probe.

An ECA probe with flexibility provides industries with an ideal solution for inspection of the wide range of aircraft wheels. The flexibility of the probe:

  • Reduces the need for a wide array of probes and instruments to fit inspection requirements of different size wheels
  • Adapts to changing geometry or curves and angles of the wheel providing continuous and complete coverage
  • Can facilitate inspection of the wheel in a much faster time
  • Allows for high resolution, 3D data for accurate identification of flaws like cracks 

ECA probes such as the Surf-X Array Tape Probe provides technicians with the ability to inspect a wide range of geometries, especially ideal for aircraft wheel eddy current inspection. 

Effective NDT Solution for Unique Aircraft Wheel Geometry

Aircraft wheel eddy current inspection is a critical part of product quality assurance. The potential for risks in the aviation industry also makes this inspection for the identification of potential flaws much more crucial. As the aircraft wheels share much of the load, stress, and temperature burden, any flaws induced on the wheel need accurate identification. The complex geometry of the wheel requires flexible equipment like the Surf-X Array Tape Probe that provides flexibility and adaptability to adjust to the changing curvatures of the wheel. This powerful ECA probe can provide accuracy in inspection results while providing complete coverage. The ability of a single probe to cover different geometries and provision for faster and accurate inspection provides an ideal solution for eddy current testing of the aircraft wheel.

Zetec, a leader in the NDT industry for over half a decade, is here to help your aviation industry application with eddy current non-destructive testing probes for aircraft wheel inspections. To learn more about our flexible and powerful eddy current inspection technology contact us today.