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Shock and Vibration
Volume 12, Issue 4, Pages 293-308

Diagnosis and Model Based Identification of a Coupling Misalignment

P. Pennacchi and A. Vania

Department of Mechanics, Politecnico di Milano, Via La Masa, 34, I-20156, Milano, Italy

Received 2 April 2004; Revised 26 October 2004

Copyright © 2005 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 is focused on the application of two different diagnostic techniques aimed to identify the most important faults in rotating machinery as well as on the simulation and prediction of the frequency response of rotating machines. The application of the two diagnostics techniques, the orbit shape analysis and the model based identification in the frequency domain, is described by means of an experimental case study that concerns a gas turbine-generator unit of a small power plant whose rotor-train was affected by an angular misalignment in a flexible coupling, caused by a wrong machine assembling. The fault type is identified by means of the orbit shape analysis, then the equivalent bending moments, which enable the shaft experimental vibrations to be simulated, have been identified using a model based identification method. These excitations have been used to predict the machine vibrations in a large rotating speed range inside which no monitoring data were available. To the best of the authors' knowledge, this is the first case of identification of coupling misalignment and prediction of the consequent machine behaviour in an actual size rotating machinery. The successful results obtained emphasise the usefulness of integrating common condition monitoring techniques with diagnostic strategies.