Ultrasonic acoustic health monitoring of ball bearings using neural network pattern classification of power spectral density

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Virginia Tech


This thesis presents a generic passive non-contact based acoustic health monitoring approach using ultrasonic acoustic emissions (UAE) to facilitate classification of bearing health via neural networks. This generic approach is applied to classifying the operating condition of conventional ball bearings. The acoustic emission signals used in this study are in the ultrasonic range (20-120 kHz), which is significantly higher than the majority of the research in this area thus far. A direct benefit of working in this frequency range is the inherent directionality of the microphones capable of measurement in this range, which becomes particularly useful when operating in environments with low signal-to-noise ratios. Using the UAE power spectrum signature, it is possible to pose the health monitoring problem as a multi-class classification problem, and make use of a multi-layer artificial neural network (ANN) to classify the UAE signature. One major problem limiting the usefulness of ANN's for failure classification is the need for large quantities of training data. Artificial training data, based on statistical properties of a significantly smaller experimental data set is created using the combination of a normal distribution and a coordinate transformation. The artificial training data provides a sufficient sized data set to train the neural network, as well as overcome the curse of dimensionality. The combination of the artificial training methods and ultrasonic frequency range being used results in an approach generic enough to suggest that this particular method is applicable to a variety of systems and components where persistent UAE exist.



Artificial Training Data, Bearings, Artificial Neural Networks, Health Monitoring, Acoustics, Emissions, Ultrasonic