Journal of Failure Analysis and Prevention

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 183–187 | Cite as

Filter Debris Analysis for Aircraft Engine and Gearbox Health Management

  • Allison M. Toms
  • Karen Cassidy
Technical Article---Peer-Reviewed


Oil filters capture a tremendous amount of tribology information about the operation of a machine. Removal and analysis of the filter debris has proved to be an effective tool for engine health management by determining wear modes and observing failure progression providing long lead times for maintenance remediation. The process of manual debris removal and analysis in a laboratory, however, is tedious. An automated filter debris analysis system provides a repeatable process for at-line or laboratory use. The filters are automatically cleaned; the particles are counted and sized utilizing a quantitative oil debris sensor; and the debris is deposited on a patch for automatic analysis by an integral energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence spectrometer. The XRF analysis procedure provides metallurgical analysis and an expert determination of engine condition. The system has been successfully applied to two operational aircraft fleets, the Canadian Forces S-61 Sea King helicopter fleet and the US Navy EA-6B Prowler aircraft fleet. In both applications, significant benefits have been realized.


Condition based maintenance Debris sensor Engine health management Filter debris analysis Operational uptime Wear modes 


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Copyright information

© Society for Machinery Failure Prevention Technology 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.GasTOPS Inc.PensacolaUSA

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