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International Journal of Rotating Machinery
Volume 3 (1997), Issue 3, Pages 143-151

Quantification of Gear Tooth Damage by Optimal Tracking of Vibration Signatures

1The University of Akron, Akron 44325-3903, Ohio, USA
2NASA Lewis Research Center, Cleveland 44135, Ohio, USA

Received 1 June 1996; Revised 1 June 1996

Copyright © 1997 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper presents a technique for quantifying the wear or damage of gear teeth in a transmission system. The procedure developed in this study can be applied as a part of either an onboard machine health-monitoring system or a health diagnostic system used during regular maintenance. As the developed methodology is based on analysis of gearbox vibration under normal operating conditions, no shutdown or special modification of operating parameters is required during the diagnostic process.

The process of quantifying the wear or damage of gear teeth requires a set of measured vibration data and a model of the gear mesh dynamics. An optimization problem is formulated to determine the profile of a time-varying mesh stiffness parameter for which the model output approximates the measured data. The resulting stiffness profile is then related to the level of gear tooth wear or damage.

The procedure was applied to a data set generated artificially and to another obtained experimentally from a spiral bevel gear test rig. The results demonstrate the utility of the procedure as part of an overall health-monitoring system.