Rocket Turbopump Health Management System Design


Turbo Solutions developed a health management system for rocket engine turbopumps under the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Phase 1 and Phase 2 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programs. A detailed physics-based model of existing rocket engine turbopumps was developed to simulate various failure mechanisms. These models included meanline and CFD-based performance curves for the full primary flowpaths (pump and turbine), as well as the complete secondary flow systems (seals, cavities, back face, bearings, thrust balance piston) systems. We then seeded this fully coupled model with potential faults, and carefully studied and recorded the system-level response to these faults. Based on the response characteristics of the overall system, Turbo Solutions developed algorithms that were able to predict low-level failures before they could progress to catastrophic failures.