Brethee, Khaldoon F. (2018) Condition Monitoring of Helical Gear Transmissions Based on Vibration Modelling and Signal Processing. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

Condition monitoring (CM) of gear transmission has attracted extensive research in recent years. In particular, the detection and diagnosis of its faults in their early stages to minimise cost by maximising time available for planned maintenance and giving greater opportunity for avoiding a system breakdown. However, the diagnostic results obtained from monitored signals are often unsatisfactory because mainstream technologies using vibration response do not sufficiently account for the effect of friction and lubrication. To develop a more advanced and accurate diagnosis, this research has focused on investigating the nonlinearities of vibration generation and transmission with the viscoelastic properties of lubrication, to provide an in-depth understanding of vibration generating mechanisms and hence develop more effective signal processing methods for early detection and accurate diagnosis of gear incipient faults.

A comprehensive dynamic model has been developed to study the dynamic responses of a multistage helical gear transmission system. It includes not only time-varying stiffness but also tooth friction forces based on an elastohydrodynamic lubrication (EHL) model. In addition, the progression of a light wear process is modelled by reducing stiffness function profile, in which the 2nd and 3rd harmonics of the meshing frequency (and their sidebands) show significant alteration that support fault diagnostic at early stages. Numerical and experimental results show that the friction and progressive wear induced vibration excitations will change slightly the amplitudes of the spectral peaks at both the mesh frequency and its sideband components at different orders, which provides theoretical supports for extracting reliable diagnostic signatures.

As such changes in vibrations are extremely small and submerged in noise, it is clear that effective techniques for enhancing the signal-to-noise ratio, such as time synchronous averaging (TSA) and modulation signal bispectrum (MSB) are required to reveal such changes. MSB is preferred as it allows small amplitude sidebands to be accurately characterised in a nonlinear way without information loss and does not impose any addition demands regarding angular displacement measurement as does TSA.

With the successful diagnosis of slight wear in helical gears, the research progressed to validate the capability of MSB based methods to diagnose four common gear faults relating to gear tribological conditions; lubrication shortfall, changes in lubrication viscosity, water in oil, and increased bearing clearances. The results show that MSB signatures allows accurate differentiation between these small changes, confirming the model and signal processing proposed in this thesis

Khaldoon Brethee.PDF - Accepted Version
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