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Title: Development and Validation of a Lifecycle-based Prognostics Architecture with Test Bed Validation

On-line monitoring and tracking of nuclear plant system and component degradation is being investigated as a method for improving the safety, reliability, and maintainability of aging nuclear power plants. Accurate prediction of the current degradation state of system components and structures is important for accurate estimates of their remaining useful life (RUL). The correct quantification and propagation of both the measurement uncertainty and model uncertainty is necessary for quantifying the uncertainty of the RUL prediction. This research project developed and validated methods to perform RUL estimation throughout the lifecycle of plant components. Prognostic methods should seamlessly operate from beginning of component life (BOL) to end of component life (EOL). We term this "Lifecycle Prognostics." When a component is put into use, the only information available may be past failure times of similar components used in similar conditions, and the predicted failure distribution can be estimated with reliability methods such as Weibull Analysis (Type I Prognostics). As the component operates, it begins to degrade and consume its available life. This life consumption may be a function of system stresses, and the failure distribution should be updated to account for the system operational stress levels (Type II Prognostics). When degradation becomes apparent,more » this information can be used to again improve the RUL estimate (Type III Prognostics). This research focused on developing prognostics algorithms for the three types of prognostics, developing uncertainty quantification methods for each of the algorithms, and, most importantly, developing a framework using Bayesian methods to transition between prognostic model types and update failure distribution estimates as new information becomes available. The developed methods were then validated on a range of accelerated degradation test beds. The ultimate goal of prognostics is to provide an accurate assessment for RUL predictions, with as little uncertainty as possible. From a reliability and maintenance standpoint, there would be improved safety by avoiding all failures. Calculated risk would decrease, saving money by avoiding unnecessary maintenance. One major bottleneck for data-driven prognostics is the availability of run-to-failure degradation data. Without enough degradation data leading to failure, prognostic models can yield RUL distributions with large uncertainty or mathematically unsound predictions. To address these issues a "Lifecycle Prognostics" method was developed to create RUL distributions from Beginning of Life (BOL) to End of Life (EOL). This employs established Type I, II, and III prognostic methods, and Bayesian transitioning between each Type. Bayesian methods, as opposed to classical frequency statistics, show how an expected value, a priori, changes with new data to form a posterior distribution. For example, when you purchase a component you have a prior belief, or estimation, of how long it will operate before failing. As you operate it, you may collect information related to its condition that will allow you to update your estimated failure time. Bayesian methods are best used when limited data are available. The use of a prior also means that information is conserved when new data are available. The weightings of the prior belief and information contained in the sampled data are dependent on the variance (uncertainty) of the prior, the variance (uncertainty) of the data, and the amount of measured data (number of samples). If the variance of the prior is small compared to the uncertainty of the data, the prior will be weighed more heavily. However, as more data are collected, the data will be weighted more heavily and will eventually swamp out the prior in calculating the posterior distribution of model parameters. Fundamentally Bayesian analysis updates a prior belief with new data to get a posterior belief. The general approach to applying the Bayesian method to lifecycle prognostics consisted of identifying the prior, which is the RUL estimate and uncertainty from the previous prognostics type, and combining it with observational data related to the newer prognostics type. The resulting lifecycle prognostics algorithm uses all available information throughout the component lifecycle.« less
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  1. Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States)
  2. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Battelle Energy Alliance, LLC, Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE)
Country of Publication:
United States