Method Evaluating the Durability of Aircraft Piston Engines



A significant issue in aircraft engines is quantifying residual life to overhaul. The algorithm described in this paper calculates with a good level of reliability the residual life of a petrol piston engine. The method was tested on small, latest-generation, naturally-aspirated aircraft and racing piston engines, and has been effective in several experiments. This method is implemented directly on the electronic control system of the engine with very few lines of C-code. The method can also be used in many industrial engines. This innovative method assumes that only two main factors (power level and wear) affect engine durability or time between overhauls. These two factors are considered as separate and combined with worst case criteria. The wear is assumed to follow a logarithmic law and a formula similar to the Miner’s law for material fatigue is used, making it possible to calculate the power-level curve with knowledge of only two points. The wear-curve is also related to elapsed engine cycles. The algorithm is very simple and can be implemented with just a few lines of software code accessing data collected from existing sensors. The system is currently used to evaluate actual residual life of racing engines.


Engine, durability, aircraft, algorithm

Full Text:



CG Soaresnext. Quality and Reliability of Technical Systems. In: A Birolini (ed.). Quality and Reliability of Technical Systems. Springer Verlag, Berlin, 1994.

O Zhang, J Poirier and J Barr. Modified Locati Method in Fatigue Testing. In: Proceeding of the SAE 2003 World Congress & Exhibition, Michigan, USA, 2003.

P Andersson, J Tamminen and CE Sandström. Piston ring tribology - A literature survey. VTT Research Notes 2178, ESPOO, 2002.

A Zmitrowicz. Wear patterns and laws of wear - a review. J. Theor. Appl. Mech. 2006; 44, 219-53.

JF Archard. Contact and rubbing of at surfaces. J. Appl. Phys. 1953; 24, 981-8.

R Holm. Electrical Contacts. In: Almqvist and Wilselles, Stockholm, 1946.

K Radil. The Influence of Honingy on the Wear of Ceramic Coated Piston Rings and Cylinder Liners. In: NASA/TM-2000-209794.

E Jisheng and DT Gawne. Influence of Lubrication Regime on the Sliding Wear Behaviour of an Alloy Steel. In: PAG.3, Department of Materials Engineering, Brunel University, UK, 1996.

MG Naylor. Development of Wear-Resistant Ceramic Coatings for Diesel Engine Components. In: DOE-ORNI, 1992.

SC Tung and Y Huang. Modeling of abrasive wear in a piston ring and engine cylinder bore system. Tribology Trans. 2004; 47, 17-22.

HH Jackson. Some aspects of engine wear: examples of wear caused by abrasion, seizure and corrosion as opposed to the effects of impact. Aircraft Eng. Aero. Tech. 1939; 11, 190-202.

V Macian, B Tormos, P Olmeda and L Montoro. Analytical approach to wear rate determination for internal combustion engine condition monitoring based on oil analysis. Tribology Int. 2003; 36, 771-6.

P Sudt. Influence of Lubricating Oil Additives on Friction of Ceramics under Conditions of Boundary Lubrication. In: N Symp (ed.). Influence of Lubricating Oil Additives on Friction of Ceramics under Conditions of Boundary Lubrication. Tribology, Lulea, Sweden, 1986.

YS Wang, S Narasimhan, JM Larson, JE Larson and GC Barber. The effect of operating conditions on heavy duty engine valve seat wear. Wear 1996; 201, 15-25.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Online ISSN: 2228-835X

Last updated: 13 September 2018