Fault diagnostics in gas turbines

Paul Boughton
Condition monitoring of the gas path of gas turbines, whether it be in the airline, marine or stationary (electricity or mechanical drives) business, plays an important part in the plant operator's performance and profitability.

Not only the number and combinations of sensed data but also the quality of such data is essential in determining the status of an engine. It is now possible to acquire real time data from engines, but the fusion/integration, interpretation and utilisation of this data is still difficult. This is because available diagnostic tools are versions from the first and second generations. It is thus necessary to develop intelligent tools that will automate, improve quality of analysis, provide timely alerts and use internet links for collaborations.

Cranfield has been involved in the subject of gas turbine diagnostics for over two decades and some recent solutions have considered third generation diagnostic system built with artificial neural networks. It involves the use of multiple network structures to diagnose the presence of a fault in the gas path of a gas turbine, isolate the faulty sensor or component (compressor or turbine) and finally, estimate the level of fault.

The fact that it has the capacity to both diagnose and estimate sensor(s) and component(s) faults in the gas path of the gas turbine, presents a feature that will improve plant availability as well as reduce false alarms and long engine shutdowns when a sensor is faulty. Results obtained from fully developed case studies attest to the efficacy of the technique.

Cranfield's Cranfield is wholly postgraduate, specialising in science, technology and management. In this regard, we are unique in the UK.Its business is driven by industry needs and we work with some of the most recognised names in the business - Airbus, Boeing, GlaxoSmithKline, Rolls-Royce, Shell and BP to name but a few.

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The Department of Power & Propulsion, School of Engineering, Cranfield University is based in Cranfield, Bedfordshire. UK. www.cranfield.ac.uk

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