A remaining useful life prediction methodology for electrolytic capacitors is presented. This methodology is based on the Kalman filter framework and an empirical degradation model. Electrolytic capacitors are used in several applications ranging 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 criticality in electronics subsystems they are a good candidate 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. We present here also, experimental results of an accelerated aging test under electrical stresses. The data obtained in this test form the basis for a remaining life prediction algorithm where a model of the degradation process is suggested. This preliminary remaining life prediction algorithm serves as a demonstration of how prognostics methodologies could be used for electrolytic capacitors. In addition, the use degradation progression data from accelerated aging provides an avenue for validation of applications of the Kalman filter based prognostics methods typically used for remaining useful life predictions in other applications.
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