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NASA, Partners Test Engine Health Monitoring System

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posted on Jul, 22 2015 @ 11:49 AM
NASA, Partners Test Engine Health Monitoring System

I thought this was neat. They are feeding volcanic ash into an engine to test new sensors that check engine health.

The sensors can check for changes in speed or vibration that could indicate a failure.

Nice to see that they are working on this.

Most people are careful to maintain their cars and keep the engine clean and out of the repair shop. However, this week a joint NASA, government and industry project team seeks to purposely feed volcanic ash into an engine to create problems.

That's one way to see if a new engine health monitoring system can detect failures before they happen. If the tests are successful, the system capable of predicting engine challenges and improving fuel economy could become available for the next generation of commercial airline engines.

A July 9 panel discussion at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center on Edwards Air Force Base, California, detailed the Vehicle Integrated Propulsion Research (VIPR) project. The concept is to test and evaluate a system that incorporates smart sensors and advanced diagnostic techniques. Speakers included Paul Krasa, VIPR project manager, John Lekki, VIPR principal investigator, Jack Hoying, U.S. Air Force volcanic ash environment principal investigator and Cheng Moua, Armstrong VIPR project manager.

"The ash will degrade the engine and allow us to see in real time what's happening and how well the health monitoring system works," said Lekki, who is based at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland.

posted on Jul, 22 2015 @ 11:55 AM
This is interesting. The only thing though, do you think it will ever become so advanced that it will be able to stop a major failure from happening? Could something like this have avoided a fatal explosion like that on the Challenger? I'm not exactly sure how long the signs/symptoms are present before a major failure (i.e. explosion), but I can't imagine it is very long?

But I also may be completely incorrect.

posted on Jul, 22 2015 @ 01:34 PM
a reply to: charolais

If I understand this right, I believe it to be something similar to the S.M.A.R.T. system in hard drives. The system is meant to provide an advanced notice of a possible device failure so one can act BEFORE the device fails. I'd imagine the same concept is being applied to this system, helping maintainers fix problems they might not be able to see so clearly or isn't so apparent.

I may be off-base too, I hope someone with more insight can fill us in.

posted on Jul, 22 2015 @ 04:32 PM
We actually heard about this on our base hopping trip. It's an interesting experiment and one that's really necessary right now with all the disruptions from volcanic activity.

posted on Jul, 22 2015 @ 06:57 PM
Engine health monitoring has been happening for decades, with increasing levels of automation and sensitivity.

In the 1980's it required pilots to set throttles at particular settings and altitudes and take note of fuel flow, oil temperature, vibration, etc...all of which were manually plotted by engineers to identify deterioration.

through the 1990's it became more automated with electronic recording, more sensors, automatic downloads and computerized analysis of the results.

This development is to identify the signals ash would generate, so that it can be identified from engine parameters and so an appropriate maintenance action can be performed - which would be different than if the same amount of deterioration came from engine wear (for example).

In addition to physical parameters such as those I mention above, oil samples are also regularly taken and analysed - partial and impending failures can often be identified and located to individual components (especially bearings) by the presence of particular substances in eth oil - I expect volcanic ash has a distinctive chemical signature too.

Evolution - not revolution

posted on Jul, 22 2015 @ 09:31 PM
More heat sensors in the forward part of the engine will help somewhat.

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