Gas Turbine Failure Analysis

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Upcoming Course

Code Start Date End Date Location Cost Instructor Register
PST0189-201701  24 Jul 2017  25 Jul 2017  Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia  SGD 2995  Jim Oswald   Register
PST0189-201702  18 Sep 2017  19 Sep 2017  Bandung, Indonesia  SGD 2995  Jim Oswald   Register
PST0189-201703  27 Nov 2017  28 Nov 2017  Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia  SGD 2995  Jim Oswald   Register

Past Course

Code Start Date End Date Location Cost Instructor Register
        Aaron A. Zick, Ph.D. 
PST0189  10 Sep 2012  12 Sep 2012  Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia  SGD 4495  Jim Oswald 
PST0189-201401  25 Aug 2014  28 Aug 2014  Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia  SGD 3995  Jim Oswald 
PST0189-201501  27 Jul 2015  30 Jul 2015  Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia  SGD 4495  Jim Oswald 
Failure investigations are tough rigorous challenges form the best in engineering. This course will teach delegates the range of thinking and subjects, which need to be considered in driving to find the real root cause of a failure. The class will be based around some of the most difficult challenges faced by the professions in the industry and challenge the analytical and creative ability of the best students.
Jim Oswald has resolved many major gas turbine failures that can not be solved by many consultants before him. These cases will be presented on the course and there will be a lot of exercises to let the delegates have a deep understanding in solving major gas turbine failure.
Each attendee must bring a laptop computer with Microsoft operating system with Microsoft Excel and power point installed.
Module 1 - Identifying root cause of failure.
Group task: Testing the delegates critical thinking skills through role play by explaining and solving a failure example provided by the tutors failure example:
• Identifying what happened before the failure
• What consequence was there of the failure
• What was the sequence of failure
• What was root cause and how can we remedy?
This teaches delegates to think carefully through the failure from start to finish and appreciate that understanding sequence and consequences is vital to identifying true root cause, and this is vital if repeat failures are to be avoided.
Module 2 - Controls and engine surge
Control system: How it protects the engine, explained and discussed Failures often involve understanding the interactions of components of the gas turbine as a system system. The controls are the central place where protection is enabled. Delegates will learn the importance of controls and how that impacts on protection of the wider engine system.
Group task: Compressor surge - calculate compressor limits
• How compressors work and interact with combustors and turbine nozzles
• How engine surge can occur and how controls protect against this
• Impact of turbine entry temperature and Inlet Guide Vanes on engine surge control during start  acceleration and operation
This module teaches the delegates to consider the engine as a system.
Module 3 - Failure investigation methods
Organising and structuring an investigation to plan a thorough root cause analysis investigation:
Importance and methods of communications
Formal failure investigation methods
• How to create a fishbone analysis
- Identifying possible failure causes (sub-categories of people, process, equipment)
- Failure effects and how this helps plan the investigation
• Sequence of Events analysis
- How to create a sequence of events diagram
- Differences between incidents, event, forcing function, qualifiers and assumptions
Group task: Produce fishbone and Sequence of Events diagrams of role play example.
Discuss strengths and weaknesses of each approach and how to apply them in practice.
Module 4 - Important factors which limit reliable operation
Engine Thermodynamic Performance
Group task: Calculate turbine entry temperature and turbine blade temperature.
Creep life – Group exercise - calculate turbine creep life using turbine blade temperature
Calculate turbine blade creep life reduction for an increase in turbine temperature of 20C
Discussion of importance of controls system in protecting engine.
Module 5 - Fatigue failures
Fatigue life – Low cycle and high cycle fatigue explained.
What is fatigue, where can it occur in a gas turbine?
Why is fatigue life important and how it limits engine operational life.
• Low cycle fatigue examples
• High cycle fatigue examples
Group task: Calculate number cycles to failure for presented example
Discuss and learn methods by which gas turbine fatigue life can be improved.
Module 1 - Types of metal fracture that could lead to gas turbine failure
Recognising Metallurgy fracture surfaces to correctly identify and explain cause of component failure
• Inter-granular cracks
• Ductile fracture
• Brittle fracture
• Fatigue fracture

Module 2 - Thermal fatigue
• Examples of thermal fatigue failure in gas turbines
• What is it? How does it break metal
- Thermal fatigue examples of combustors and transition components
- How thermal barrier coating helps reduce thermal fatigue
Group task: Example calculation of fatigue life on gas turbine transition piece
• How can you reduce thermal fatigue in gas turbines
- Influence of start sequence on thermal fatigue
- Importance of number of starts on thermal fatigue

Module 3 - Importance of failure patterns in root cause analysis
Looking for patterns in repeating failures
• Why pattern analysis is important in understanding root cause of failure and prevention of further repeat failures
• Examples of pattern analysis in real life gas turbine failure case studies
• Using creative thinking to test and explore possible failure patterns
• Methods to identify patterns
Group task: Role-play simulations of real life gas turbine failures identify failure patterns from real life gas turbine failures presented

Module 4 - Summarising learning form course
• Summaries and review causes of gas turbine failure – controls / temperature / fatigue
• Review importance of component interaction of whole system behavior and how controls protects engine
• Summarise metallurgical failure types and how they help identify root causes
• Review how delegate will report failure investigation better to management in the future
Group tasks: Update Sequence of Events diagram to include lessons learnt from course

Module 5 - Students can raise gas turbine failures and operational limit concerns they are familiar with for discussion with group / trainer
  • Identifying the true root cause of failures, consequences, sequences of failure and remedies
  • Understanding the interactions of components of gas turbine as a system including control systems and engine surge
  • Effectively organising and structuring an investigation plan
  • Experience first hand how fishbone analysis and Sequence of Events can help in investigations
  • Assessing fatigue failures and how it limits engine operational life
  • Assessing factors which limit reliable operation
  • Identifying the true root cause of failures, consequences, sequences of failure and remedies
  • Understanding, recognizing and preventing further repeat failures through pattern analysis
  • Strengthen understanding of gas turbine failures and operational limit concerns through thorough discussion with the trainer
The course is designed for professionals who want to know practical knowledge which will sharpen analytical skill in resolving major gas turbine failures.
  • Reliability Engineer
  • Rotating Mechanical Engineer
  • Maintenance Engineer
  • Electrical Engineer
  • Instrument Engineer

Aaron A. Zick, Ph.D.

Founder and President


President, Zick Technologies (Since 10/93).

Petroleum engineering consulting and software development, specializing in the area of reservoir fluid phase behavior modeling. References available on request. Key achievements:

-Developed numerous equation-of-state and black-oil fluid characterizations for various major oil companies and as a sub-contractor for Pera A/S.

-Recommended phase behavior experimentation and modeling guidelines for several major oil companies.

-Wrote PhazeComp, a new, state-of-the-art program from Zick Technologies for equation-of-state phase behavior modeling, reservoir fluid characterization, and the robust, efficient calculation of minimum miscibility conditions.

-Wrote Streamz, unique Petrostreamz A/S software for translating, manipulating, and managing vast quantities of fluid stream information.

-Designed and helped write Pipe-It, unique Petrostreamz A/S software for managing and manipulating petroleum resources, processes, and projects.

-Taught numerous industry courses on phase behavior, equations of state, reservoir fluid characterization, and miscible gas injection processes.

-Designed and helped implement a new set of equation-of-state routines for the in-house reservoir simulator of a major oil company.

-Advised the architects of a major commercial reservoir simulator on ways to significantly improve their equation-of-state routines.


Director of Research, Reservoir Simulation Research Corporation (6/91–10/93).

Responsible for the research and development of more efficient, accurate, and reliable techniques for modeling reservoir fluid phase behavior within MORE® (a fully-compositional, equation-of-state reservoir simulator). Also responsible for improving three-dimensional visualization of reservoir simulator output, and for occasional consulting work. Key achievements:

-Designed and implemented new equation-of-state solution algorithms for MORE®, improving both efficiency and robustness while using less memory.

-Developed a powerful and flexible interface between MORE® and TECPLOT™ (three-dimensional surface contouring software from AMTEC Engineering).


Senior Principal Research Engineer, ARCO Oil and Gas Company (9/83–5/91).

Developed expertise in reservoir fluid phase behavior, phase behavior modeling, compositional reservoir simulation, and relative permeability modeling.  Designed and analyzed PVT experiments. Created equation-of-state reservoir fluid characterizations. Developed ARCO’s phase behavior modeling software and relative permeability modeling software. Helped develop several of ARCO’s compositional and limited compositional reservoir simulators. Key achievements:

-Discovered the true, condensing/vaporizing mechanism of oil displace­ment by enriched hydrocarbon gases.

-Represented ARCO on the Prudhoe Bay co-owners’ Enhanced Oil Recovery Task Force for the Prudhoe Bay Miscible Gas Project.

-Designed and analyzed most of the PVT and slim-tube experiments for the Prudhoe Bay Miscible Gas Project.

-Created the equation-of-state reservoir fluid characterization adopted by the operating companies for the Prudhoe Bay Miscible Gas Project.

-Developed the miscibility pressure correlations used by the facility operators for the Prudhoe Bay Miscible Gas Project.

-Developed EOSPHASE, a then state-of-the-art program for equation-of-state phase behavior modeling, reservoir fluid characterization, and the robust, efficient calculation of minimum miscibility conditions.

-Developed SLIMTUBE, a special-purpose, equation-of-state simulator for slim-tube displacements.

-Developed new, compositionally-consistent, three-phase relative perme­ability models for ARCO’s compositional simulators and wrote data-fitting software for those models.

-Developed the phase behavior and relative permeability routines for a new, limited compositional reservoir simulator and assisted on other aspects of it.

-Continually added improvements to various in-house reservoir simulators.

-Regularly taught in-house courses on the phase behavior of miscible gas displacement processes.



A. A. Zick, “A Combined Condensing/Vaporizing Mechanism in the Displacement of Oil by Enriched Gases,” presented at the 61st Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, New Orleans, LA (October, 1986).

D. E. Tang and A. A. Zick, “A New Limited Compositional Reservoir Simulator,” presented at the 12th SPE Symposium on Reservoir Simulation, New Orleans, LA (March, 1993).