It is essential to monitor and to diagnose faults in rotating machinery with a high thrust–weight ratio and complex structure for a variety of industrial applications, for which reliable signal measurements are required. However, the measured values consist of the true values of the parameters, the inertia of measurements, random errors and systematic errors. Such signals cannot reflect the true performance state and the health state of rotating machinery accurately. High-quality, steady-state measurements are necessary for most current diagnostic methods. Unfortunately, it is hard to obtain these kinds of measurements for most rotating machinery. Diagnosis based on transient performance is a useful tool that can potentially solve this problem. A model-based fault diagnosis method for gas turbines based on transient performance is proposed in this paper. The fault diagnosis consists of a dynamic simulation model, a diagnostic scheme, and an optimization algorithm. A high-accuracy, nonlinear, dynamic gas turbine model using a modular modeling method is presented that involves thermophysical properties, a component characteristic chart, and system inertial. The startup process is simulated using this model. The consistency between the simulation results and the field operation data shows the validity of the model and the advantages of transient accumulated deviation. In addition, a diagnostic scheme is designed to fulfill this process. Finally, cuckoo search is selected to solve the optimization problem in fault diagnosis. Comparative diagnostic results for a gas turbine before and after washing indicate the improved effectiveness and accuracy of the proposed method of using data from transient processes, compared with traditional methods using data from the steady state.
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