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

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