Researchers at Purdue University say they have developed a monitoring system that can detect rotor forced response vibration, one of the most common causes of premature blade failure in turbine engines. Turbine blades can act as a tuning fork with a specific frequency when they vibrate, and at times the vibrations can be so intense they affect the engine’s functioning.
“The key challenge is how to filter out all the noise and just listen to the sound of the blade vibration,” said Yujun Leng, a research scientist in the university’s College of Engineering. “Our technology is a blade vibration monitoring system using multiple unsteady pressure sensors to listen to the specific sound of gas turbine engine blade vibration.”
Data analytics make it possible for that blade vibration information to be used to predict possible engine failure, noted Nicole Key, a professor of mechanical engineering. “This technique has great potential to be used as a real-time blade vibration health monitoring system for the gas turbine engines used in both aviation and power generation.” She added that existing pressure sensor arrays already present in most engines can also be used to measure and monitor blade vibration at the same time.
The university’s research foundation has filed for a provisional patent for the technology and the researchers are looking for partners to further test and commercialize it.