Bearings and gears within high-performance aircraft and rotorcraft powertrains are subjected to significant loads that can result in premature failure of these components, the precursor of which is generally small amounts of wear debris.  Current failure detection methods suffer from lacking debris capture efficiency (i.e. magnetic chip collectors) or can require significant mechanical effort for retrofit applications (i.e. particle counters).

The Advanced Oil Filter Monitoring System detects small levels of critical system debris and is designed for straightforward retrofit onto existing propulsion systems for aircraft and rotorcraft. 

To address the need for improved sensing techniques to detect initial stages of engine component damage, Luna is developing a debris detection system utilizing the propulsion system’s main lubricant filter as the primary sensing element. This strategy saves size and weight by employing existing fluid connections and components, and captures virtually all circulated bearing debris.

Key Attributes of the Filter Monitoring System

  • High Sensitivity – Demonstrated < 5 mg total system debris resolution under highly variable fluid flow rates and temperatures
  • Small Footprint –  Uses existing hydraulic system connections for easy integration with minimal weight impact
  • High Capture Efficiency –  Unlike traditional chip collectors, the filter naturally captures virtually all critical debris
  • Low Cost  – Single-point measurement minimizes hardware effort

With improved debris monitoring capability, maintainers can more reliably identify conditions leading to failure of critical propulsion system components with less effort than current inspection approaches.  Detection system output may be stored in standalone configuration for maintainer download or integrated into the aircraft’s existing health management system.

Support and disclaimer remarks: This material is based upon work supported by the United States Air Force under Contract No FA8650-08-M-2880.  Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Air Force.