A new acoustic emission sensor based gear fault detection approach

Yongzhi Qu, Eric Bechhoefer, David He, Junda Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


In order to reduce wind energy costs, prognostics and health management (PHM) of wind turbine is needed to reduce operations and maintenance cost of wind turbines. The major cost on wind turbine repairs is due to gearbox failure. Therefore, developing effective gearbox fault detection tools is important in the PHM of wind turbine. PHM system allows less costly maintenance because it can inform operators of needed repairs before a fault causes collateral damage happens to the gearbox. In this paper, a new acoustic emission (AE) sensor based gear fault detection approach is presented. This approach combines a heterodyne based frequency reduction technique with time synchronous average (TSA) and spectral kurtosis (SK) to process AE sensor signals and extract features as condition indictors for gear fault detection. Heterodyne techniques commonly used in communication are used to preprocess the AE signals before sampling. By heterodyning, the AE signal frequency is down shifted from MHz to below 50 kHz. This reduced AE signal sampling rate is comparable to that of vibration signals. The presented approach is validated using seeded gear tooth crack fault tests on a notational split torque gearbox. The approach presented in this paper is physics based and the validation results have showed that it could effectively detect the gear faults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational Journal of Prognostics and Health Management
Issue numberSPECIAL ISSUE 2
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


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