Engine Component Retirement-For-Cause: A Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE) and Fracture Mechanics Based Maintainance Concep
Historically, cyclic life limited gas turbine engine components have been retired when they reach an analytically determined life where the first fatigue crack per 1000 parts could be expected. By definition, 99.9% of these components are being retired prematurely as they have considerable useful life remaining. Retirement for Cause is a procedure which would allow safe utilization of the full life capacity of each individual component. Since gas turbine engine rotor components are prime candidates and are among the most costly of engine components, adoption of a RFC maintenance philosophy could result in substantial engine systems life cycle cost savings. Two major technical disciplines must be developed and integrated to realize those cost savings: Fracture Mechanics and Nondestructive Evaluation. This paper discusses the methodology, and development activity required, to integrate these disciplines to provide a viable RFC system for use on military gas turbine engines, and illustrates potential benefits of its application.