A major problem with cavitation in pumps and other hydraulic devices is that there is no effective method for detecting or predicting its inception. The traditional approach is to declare the pump in cavitation when the total head pressure drops by some arbitrary value (typically 3o/0) in response to a reduction in pump inlet pressure. However, the pump is already cavitating at this point. A method is needed in which cavitation events are captured as they occur and characterized by their process dynamics. The object of this research was to identify specific features of cavitation that could be used as a model-based descriptor in a context-dependent condition-based maintenance (CD-CBM) anticipatory prognostic and health assessment model. This descriptor was based on the physics of the phenomena, capturing the salient features of the process dynamics. An important element of this concept is the development and formulation of the extended process feature vector @) or model vector. Thk model-based descriptor encodes the specific information that describes the phenomena and its dynamics and is formulated as a data structure consisting of several elements. The first is a descriptive model abstracting the phenomena. The second is the parameter list associated with the functional model. The third is a figure of merit, a single number between [0,1] representing a confidence factor that the functional model and parameter list actually describes the observed data. Using this as a basis and applying it to the cavitation problem, any given location in a flow loop will have this data structure, differing in value but not content. The extended process feature vector is formulated as follows: E`> [ <f(x,t,)>, {parameter Iist}, confidence factor]. (1) For this study, the model that characterized cavitation was a chirped-exponentially decaying sinusoid. Using the parameters defined by this model, the parameter list included frequency, decay, and chirp rate. Based on this, the process feature vector has the form: @=> [<e+ cos(~t+at'), e+ Sh(at+at')>, {01 = a, ~= b, ~ = c}, cf = 0.80]. (2) In this experiment a reversible catastrophe was examined. The reason for this is that the same catastrophe could be repeated to ensure the statistical significance of the data.