Estimating engine performance

Method determines engine deterioration tuning parameters and enables the accurate reconstruction of unmeasured engine outputs such as thrust

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A scientist at the Army Research Laboratory has recently invented a process to estimate various health parameters of an aircraft engine. The patented technology is available via patent license agreement to companies that would make, use, or sell it commercially.

In-flight estimation of unmeasurable turbofan engine outputs, such as thrust, is difficult because the values depend on the degradation level of the engine; which is often not known accurately. Degradation is generally defined in terms of off-nominal values of health parameters, such as efficiency and flow capacity, related to each major engine component. Accurate thrust reconstruction depends upon knowledge of these health parameters, but there are usually too few sensors to estimate their values.

ARL has developed a way to address this issue by determining a set of tuning parameters (not necessarily a subset of health parameters) that is smaller in dimension than the set of health parameters but retains as much information as possible from that original set. The thrust estimation technique uses singular value decomposition to obtain an optimal set of tuners. These tuners are incorporated into a Kalman filter to provide the optimal estimates.

The approach may be used to detect faults in unmeasured parameters and may be used to control an in-flight engine by employing a computer to determine the relationship of the tuning factor to unmeasured parameters and estimate unmeasured auxiliary parameters of the engine that are affected by unmeasured health parameters.

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