F135 Integrated Engine Prognostics & Health Management

All about the Pratt & Whitney F135 and the (cancelled) General Electric/Rolls-Royce F136
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That_Engine_Guy

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Unread post26 Nov 2007, 01:56

During some of my wandering across the internet reading up on "engine stuff;" I've found some very interesting information concerning PW's F135 engine.

If you thought FADECs made motors smart; this is the next step to a true "intelligent engine." :thumb:

The F135 team has also issued a contract of its own to Diagnostic software maker Qualtech Systems Inc. of Wethersfield, CT to provide real-time on-board diagnostics for its jet engines. The contract calls for Qualtech Systems to provide fault isolation development software tools and an an on-engine "diagnostic reasoner" as part of Pratt & Whitney's Joint Strike Fighter Engine Prognostics & Health Management (PHM) Program.

PHM will make use of electrostatic and other sensors to monitor such parameters as debris generation, vibration, blade health and lubricating-oil quality. The suite of sensors will constantly monitor approximately 500 data streams, which will be integrated with the F-35's own systems. The complete PHM system has been developed in partnership with NASA Ames, which created vital data-fusion algorithms, NASA Dryden and NASA Glenn, with flight development to be carried out with a C-17. As noted previously, the aim is to predict the need for inspection or parts-replacement, so that, via a satellite link, the airbase or aircraft carrier knows the engine health before the aircraft returns from its mission.


500 data streams!? ..and the engine will know when it's broke!? WOW! :shock:

How do you figure they're going to do these things? (Thoughts anyone?)

1. Debris Generation = Chip detectors?
2. Vibration = Vib Checks are done with sensors during testing now, they'll also be on board?
3. Blade Health? Pass an eddy-current through the blisk(s) to find FOD/Cracks?
4. Lubricating-oil quality = on board oil-analysis? Done with a small SOAP module?

I'm looking into NASA's C-17 testing now. I'll post more as I find it.
(UNCLASS only as usual ;) )
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asiatrails

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Unread post26 Nov 2007, 05:23

Qualtec do a lot of remote systems monitoring for the Space Station so they are a good choice. There was a paper presented at the IEEE Aerospace Conference in early (March/April) 2004 by a lady from P&W on health management systems, might be worth taking a look for it.

Smiths - now GE - have a sampling probe which is installed into the turbine gas path to detect upstream hot section component distress - e.g. vane burnout.

My guess is that the F-35 system will probably use electric chip detectors, standard vibration transducers with bandpass filters, and some form of oil conductivity testing to check for acid build up or degradation. All of this data will probably download into a hand held unit which will have the smart algorithms and recommend maintenance actions. The system will probably have a crash resistant recording feature, probably about 10MB based on the quoted data stream.
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Unread post28 Nov 2007, 02:35

NASA wrote:C-17 Wired for the Future by Gray Creech - Dryden Public Affairs

Dryden researchers are investigating an improved, high-tech method of monitoring and diagnosing the status of jet engines, using a U.S. Air Force C-17 transport plane at Edwards Air Force Base.

The effort, known as the C-17 Propulsion Health Monitoring project, seeks to identify and refine aircraft engine technologies aimed at making military and civilian aircraft safer and more reliable.

The C-17 is being used because the aircraft represents modern medium- and large-transport aircraft with quad-redundant digital flight control systems. These features offer maximum flexibility and redundancy for advanced intelligent systems research.

Project objectives include enhancing aircraft safety by enabling early detection of potentially damaging events that would not be discoverable by conventional means, and elimination or minimization of secondary damage.

Advanced engine sensors aboard the C-17 provide ultrasonic stress wave analysis that filters out all normal engine vibration, detecting only friction and shock events.

Electrostatic sensors located in engine inlet and exhaust sections monitor for debris and signal when potential debris passage is detected. The system then diagnoses ingested material in order to determine if a problem exists.

Future additions to the sensor suite include oil debris and engine vibration monitoring, and higher-resolution monitoring of engine compressor stage speeds.

Propulsion health monitoring could provide industry and the military with economic benefits by enabling comprehensive in-flight diagnosis and by eliminating the need for routine engine inspections.

The project is led by Dryden, with NASA funding all development and infrastructure components including aircraft flight time and support.

Other project participants include the U.S. Air Force's C-17 System Program office, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio; the Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards Air Force Base; Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.; Glenn Research Center, Cleveland; The Boeing Co., Long Beach, Calif., and St. Louis; and Pratt & Whitney, East Hartford, Conn.


WOW, actual FOD detectors!? :shock:

Here are some more clips from a different NASA paper concerning the C-17 PHM project.
The Inlet Debris Monitoring Sensor (IDMS) is mounted in the inlet forward of the FAN and monitors the electrostatic charge associated with debris ingested at the engine inlet. It is designed to detect the size, quantity, velocity and to a limited extent composition of debris (i.e. damaging/non-damaging) entering the inlet.

The Engine Distress Monitoring Sensor (EDMS) is installed in the upper actuator housing of the thrust reverser casing. This sensor monitors the electrostatic charge of debris exiting the engine, which is likely to have been produced by engine distress. This system monitors the exhaust for changes in the level or nature of this debris. Normal healthy engine operation results in a small amount of erosion of various engine components that show up as fine particulate within the gas path. Changes in the nature or quantity of this exhaust debris have the potential for being an early warning of excessive wear or incipient failures.

The Stress Wave Analysis Sensor (SWAN) is a lightweight integrated circuit piezoelectric transducer that monitors structurally borne ultrasonic sound vibrations to measure the energy created by shock or friction events. It is an external sensor that requires a mount point that provides a mechanical sound path to the component being monitored. Five of them are mounted on the engine gearbox and flanges.

A set of 3 High Frequency Vibration Sensors (HFVS) are mounted on the engine. One is located on the gearbox, one on engine case flange B (forward), and one on flange P (aft). These sensors will allow the high frequency response of the components of the engine and gearbox to be tracked.


Another NASA paper cited the (then) JSF program as "State-of-the_Art" in Integrated Vehicle Health Management (IVHM)

Current State-of-the-Art
The Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program embodies the state-of-the-art in aircraft IVHM. This program has incorporated prognostics health management (PHM) into its design, using sensors, advanced processing and reasoning, and a fully integrated system of information and supplies management. The on-board JSF PHM system is hierarchical, dividing the aircraft into areas such as propulsion and mission systems. Area data is generated by a mixture of dedicated, purpose-built sensors and analysis on existing control sensors to identify degradation and failures, compiled and correlated by area reasoners, and then correlated by system-level model-based reasoners. Maintenance data-links telemeter vehicle health data to ground-based information systems focused on maintenance and management of the supply chain. Prognostic events are detected by prognostic built-in-test, automated post-flight trending, and reasoning, with an emphasis on disambiguating sources of degradation rather than failure. Ground-based knowledge capture is used to sift through flight data. An autonomic logistics information system provides logistic support to the end user and provides off-board trending across the entire JSF fleet. The JSF PHM system is still in the design phase, and it is widely acknowledged that much work remains to build a reliable, effective health management system. Much of the integration of health management information is done manually after the flight. Commercial health management systems lag the military, but commercial suppliers have a keen interest in applying health management technologies to keep pace with changing market conditions and the need for reduced maintenance costs to ensure economic viability of the operators and equipment manufacturers.


Engines will be able to predict what is happening to them as they run. The parts can be ordered and maintenance will fix the problem BEFORE it breaks.
(At least that's the plan as I read it.) ;)

Propulsion is such a cool career field! 8)

But a word to the wise; Those motors may be getting smarter, but they still can't turn a wrench or add their own oil... :cheers:
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Unread post30 Nov 2007, 04:10

P&HM isn't just for the engine, it monitors all aircraft subsystems.

P&HM = R2D2 on steroids... :)
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Unread post18 Dec 2007, 13:39

Such engine monitoring is not new at all. Even german Tornados feature such a system designated Onboard Life Monitoring System. It allows on condition maintainance monitoring engine parameters and engine components, vibrations etc.. Similar systems can be found on other aircraft as well like the Eurofighter or Rafale and I'm pretty sure the F-22s ICAW includes such monitoring systems as well.
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Unread post19 Dec 2007, 00:36

It's good to see the IHM system expand into many functions for both A/C and Engine. Back in early 80's GD/SPO tested a pilot setup that included an AI engine in the loop. This was wild, all I can say was that this made the politics more scary since the engine and aircraft systems were beginning to talk and repair each other but you wouldn't know where the malfunction blame could be pointed to since the network could partition up the computer's resources on either system, combined them and make a new working solution for the problem to fix.
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Unread post02 Jan 2008, 22:04

This sounds great but WEMS are already being tested so that data downloads are done well in advance before the plane returns to give the FBO time to sort out the problem with ground computers, spares and SE. That way the AOG is minimized for turn around if short of a complete engine pull.

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