A proposed data-fusion system, to be implemented mostly in software, would further process the digitized and preprocessed outputs of sensors in a turbofan engine to detect foreign-object damage (FOD) [more precisely, damage caused by impingement of such foreign objects as birds, pieces of ice, and runway debris]. The proposed system could help a flight crew to decide what, if any, response is necessary to complete a flight safely, and could aid mechanics in deciding what post-flight maintenance action might be needed.

Figure 1. Outputs of Two 'Experts'(fuzzy-logic inference engines) would be fused at the feature level by means of Dempster's combination algorithm.

The sensory information to be utilized by the proposed system would consist of (1) the output of an accelerometer in an engine-vibration-monitoring subsystem and (2) features extracted from a gas path analysis. ["Gas path analysis" (GPA) is a term of art that denotes comprehensive analysis of engine performance derived from readings of fuel-flow meters, shaft-speed sensors, temperature sensors, and the like.]

Figure 2. These Example Outputs of the proposed system were generated in response to simulated vibrational and GPA inputs characteristic of marginal and conflicting evidence, respectively, of occurrence of an FOD event near the 2-second time mark.

The acceleration signal would first be processed by a wavelet-transform-based algorithm, using a wavelet created for the specific purpose of finding abrupt FOD-induced changes in noisy accelerometer signals. Two additional features extracted would be the amplitude of vibration (determined via a single- frequency Fourier transform calculated at the rotational speed of the engine), and the rate of change in amplitude due to an FOD-induced rotor

This work was done by James A. Torso of QSS Group, Inc. and Jonathan S. Litt of the U. S. Army Research Laboratory for Glenn Research Center. For further information, access the Technical Support Package (TSP) free on-line at www.techbriefs.com/tsp under the Machinery/Automation category.

Inquiries concerning rights for the commercial use of this invention should be addressed to

NASA Glenn Research Center
Innovative Partnerships Office
Attn: Steve Fedor
Mail Stop 4–8
21000 Brookpark Road
Ohio 44135.

Refer to LEW-17843-1

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the January, 2006 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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