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International Journal of Rotating Machinery
Volume 9, Issue 4, Pages 303-311

Deflections and Strains in Cracked Shafts Due to Rotating Loads: A Numerical and Experimental Analysis

1Dipartimento di Meccanica, Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy
2Dipartimento di Meccanica, Politecnico di Milano, Via la Masa, 34, Milano I-20158, Italy

Copyright © 2003 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.


In this article the deflections of a circular cross-section beam presenting a transverse crack of varying depths caused by various loads (bending, torsion, shear, and axial loads) are analyzed with the aid of a rather refined three-dimensional model that takes into account the nonlinear contact forces in the cracked area. The bending and shear loads are applied in several different angular positions in order to simulate a rotating load on a fixed beam or, by changing the reference system, a fixed load on a rotating beam. Torsion and axial loads are fixed with respect to the beam.

Results obtained for the rotating beam can then be used for the analysis of cracked horizontal-axis heavy rotors in which the torsion is combined with the bending load. The effect of friction is also considered in the cracked area. The characteristic “breathing” behavior of the cracked area was analyzed and compared to that obtained with a rather simple one-dimensional model. The differences in results with respect to those based on fracture mechanics are emphasized. In order to highlight the effect of the presence of the crack, the deflections of the uncracked beam loaded with the same loads were subtracted from the deflections of the cracked beam.

Finally, a cracked specimen was extensively analyzed by means of several strain gauges to study the strain distribution on the outer surface around the crack in various loading conditions. Consistent pre-stresses were found, and they influence the breathing behavior. The experimental results were compared with those obtained using the onedimensional linear model.