A mechanical device such as an aircraft gas turbine engine will in its lifetime of service show the effects of damage and deterioration. The damage to (and deterioration of) an engine has an adverse effect on the engine’s overall performance. It is therefore vitally important to predict the effects of deterioration on the performance of an engine and on the economic (fuel burn and engine life) implications from an operator’s perspective. Engine component degradation leads to performance deterioration and change, which requires the engine to run hotter and faster so as to meet the required thrust and aircraft performance. Increasing engine operating temperatures and engine speed result in increased creep and fatigue damage to the hot section components and increases the engine life cycle costs. One way of reducing life cycle costs is by better usage of the engine and involves being certain about the life potential of the engine and its components and how this life evolves with use. A sound understanding of how the engine life evolves and to predict remaining life requires understanding the engine’s operating environment and how component damage is sustained and accumulated. Knowledge about the engine condition and the likely stresses to which it will be subjected is required to analyse engine component usage and reduce degradation, raise safe-life limits of components and reduce maintenance requirements. This paper lays the foundation for the development of a prognostic tool that will capture and model the mechanisms of degradation, and predict levels of degradation based on engine deployment. The mechanisms that will cause degradation are assessed and integrated to establish the requirements of the tool. The paper discusses how degradation will affect component and engine performance and also the life of the engine.

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