This paper presents a model-driven methodology for predicting the remaining useful life of electrolytic capacitors. This methodology adopts a Kalman filter approach in conjunction with an empirical state-based degradation model to predict the degradation of capacitor parameters through the life of the capacitor. Electrolytic capacitors are important components of systems that range from power supplies on critical avionics equipment to power drivers for electro-mechanical actuators. These devices are known for their comparatively low reliability and given their critical role in the system, they are good candidates for component level prognostics and health management. Prognostics provides a way to assess remaining useful life of a capacitor based on its current state of health and its anticipated future usage and operational conditions. This paper proposes and empirical degradation model and discusses experimental results for an accelerated aging test performed on a set of identical capacitors subjected to electrical stress. The data forms the basis for developing the Kalman-filter based remaining life prediction algorithm.
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