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Model Verification and Validation Concepts for a Probabilistic Fracture Assessment Model to Predict Cracking of Knife Edge Seals in the Space Shuttle Main Engine High Pressure Oxidizer

[+] Author Affiliations
Shantaram S. Pai

NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH

David S. Riha

Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX

Paper No. GT2012-70132, pp. 459-468; 10 pages
doi:10.1115/GT2012-70132
From:
  • ASME Turbo Expo 2012: Turbine Technical Conference and Exposition
  • Volume 7: Structures and Dynamics, Parts A and B
  • Copenhagen, Denmark, June 11–15, 2012
  • Conference Sponsors: International Gas Turbine Institute
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4473-1
  • Copyright © 2012 by ASME

abstract

Physics-based models are routinely used to predict the performance of engineered systems to make decisions such as when to retire system components, how to extend the life of an aging system, or if a new design will be safe or available. Model verification and validation (V&V) is a process to establish credibility in model predictions. Ideally, carefully controlled validation experiments will be designed and performed to validate models or submodels. In reality, time and cost constraints limit experiments and even model development. This paper describes elements of model V&V during the development and application of a probabilistic fracture assessment model to predict cracking in space shuttle main engine high-pressure oxidizer turbopump knife-edge seals.

The objective of this effort was to assess the probability of initiating and growing a crack to a specified failure length in specific flight units for different usage and inspection scenarios. The probabilistic fracture assessment model developed in this investigation combined a series of submodels describing the usage, temperature history, flutter tendencies, tooth stresses and numbers of cycles, fatigue cracking, nondestructive inspection, and finally the probability of failure. The analysis accounted for unit-to-unit variations in temperature, flutter limit state, flutter stress magnitude, and fatigue life properties. The investigation focused on the calculation of relative risk rather than absolute risk between the usage scenarios. Verification predictions were first performed for three units with known usage and cracking histories to establish credibility in the model predictions. Then, numerous predictions were performed for an assortment of operating units that had flown recently or that were projected for future flights. Calculations were performed using two NASA-developed software tools: NESSUS® for the probabilistic analysis, and NASGRO® for the fracture mechanics analysis. The goal of these predictions was to provide additional information to guide decisions on the potential of reusing existing and installed units prior to the new design certification.

Copyright © 2012 by ASME

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