Methods and systems for identifying, understanding, and predicting the degradation and failure of mechanical systems are disclosed. The methods include measuring and quantifying stressors that are responsible for the activation of degradation mechanisms in the machine component of interest. The intensity of the stressor may be correlated with the rate of physical degradation according to some determinable function such that a derivative relationship exists between the machine performance, degradation, and the underlying stressor. The derivative relationship may be used to make diagnostic and prognostic calculations concerning the performance and projected life of the machine. These calculations may be performed in real time to allow the machine operator to quickly adjust the operational parameters of the machinery in order to help minimize or eliminate the effects of the degradation mechanism, thereby prolonging the life of the machine. Various systems implementing the methods are also disclosed.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT SUPPORT
This invention was made with Government support under Contract DE-AC0676RLO1830 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in the invention.