Home' Army News : August 11th 2016 Contents australianmilitarybank.com.au
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August 11, 2016
THE Directorate General Technical
Airworthiness -- ADF and the
Defence Science and Technology
Group have combined forces to
deliver a unique service to improve
safety and significantly reduce main-
tenance costs to Defence aircraft.
The ADF Wear Debris Analysis
(WDA) Laboratory has opened its
doors to offer a free service to analyse
wear particles from ADF air assets.
This is not oil analysis, which looks
at the longer-term trend of very small
particles, but analysis of metallic par-
ticles to assess aircraft serviceability.
Analysing wear particles from gas
turbines or gearboxes significantly
improves the availability and safety of
aircraft without incurring the cost of
removing the whole part.
Defence scientist Andrew Becker
said when machinery started to fail it
shed tiny particles into the lubricant.
"We use a method called 'wear
debris analysis' to determine the size,
quantity, features and composition of
these particles," he said.
"The composition of metallic
debris can help us distinguish between
benign or significant fatigue par-
ticles, which tells us if a part needs
maintenance without having to remove
the actual part.
"If the part doesn't require mainte-
nance then you've saved on time and
costs, and if the part critically needs
maintenance or replacement then
you can avoid catastrophic failure of
expensive or critical equipment."
While alloy steels, aluminium
alloys, magnesium alloys and stain-
less steels may look the same to the
naked eye, their presence means differ-
A recent example of this was an
analysis of debris captured from an
Air Force fast jet engine lubrication
screen. In this case the debris was
determined to be a benign aluminium
alloy and after consulting with the
engine field service representative the
engine was allowed to remain in ser-
vice, which resulted in significant sav-
However, in another example, a
helicopter main rotor gearbox gener-
ated debris, which was captured on
Reducing maintenance costs
a chip detector immediately before
embarkation to a ship.
The debris was analysed as bearing
steel with features consistent with roll-
ing contact fatigue -- a common failure
mode of gears and bearings. The gear-
box was subsequently replaced having
had a recent history of generating the
same type of debris.
The ADF WDA Laboratory is
located at DST Group's Fishermans
Bend facility in Melbourne uses
a unique staffing model that allows
suitably trained DGTA-ADF staff and
DST Group experts to come together
as required to conduct debris analysis.
THE ADF WDA Laboratory service is
free (excluding postage) for ADF avia-
tion assets, however, people wanting
to access the service should check
the relevant contractual arrange-
ments to prevent Defence providing
a service for which it is already being
There is no change to the process
of testing oil samples.
The ADF WDA Laboratory was
established specifically to help
determine aircraft serviceability and
augments any extant oil analysis pro-
grams. To access this service web-
form AE639 must be filled out. Three
priorities are listed on the form with
the highest priority requiring a brief
justification. The physical samples are
then sent via courier or express post
to: ADF Wear Debris Analysis Lab,
c/- DST Store, 506 Lorimer Street,
Fishermans Bend, Victoria, 3207.
For more information, email ADF.WDA@
A damaged gear
READY TO ASSIST
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