The paper presents the results of a probabilistic creep life study on RRA 501 KB turbine blades and demonstrates the importance of using physics based probabilistic damage modeling techniques to deal with life prediction uncertainty in cast equiaxed components. It is shown that physics based damage analysis yields accurate results and considerably less mechanical properties data is needed for life prediction of cast components. In physics based damage analysis, it is also easy to quickly assess the life limiting damage modes and to establish fracture critical locations in components. In physics based modeling, the influence of individual microstructural or thermal-mechanical loading factors on metallurgical crack nucleation can also be studied with relative ease. Residual life of service exposed parts and effectiveness of life extension techniques can also be predicted because the state of microstructure due to prior service and repair can be taken into account. In this study, Life Prediction Technologies Inc.’s (LPTi’s) prognosis tool known as XactLIFE™ was successfully used to establish the fracture critical location of RRA 501KB first stage gas turbine blades under steady state loads. Deterministic analysis was first used to compute the lower bound airfoil nodal creep life of the various finite element nodes and this was followed by probabilistic creep life analysis to take into account the variability of microstructure from one blade to another. The analysis used typical engine operating data from the field in terms of engine speed and average turbine inlet temperature (TIT). The primary objectives of the case study are to show how prognosis can allow a user to predict component fracture critical locations, establish inspection intervals to avoid failures and establish fleet reliability for engine specific operating conditions.

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