Excessive vibrations usually cause mechanical parts to fail. This paper describes a vibration-induced failure in an air handling assembly. Cyclic impacts between a valve and a set of powdered metal bushings cause the failure. A variety of signal processing techniques are used to analyze experimental response data from the failing part including standard spectral signature approaches (i.e. Fourier, cepstral) in addition to more advanced time-frequency analysis techniques (i.e. wavelet contour maps). The theory and application of each method is reviewed in the context of the specific failure mode under consideration. The paper demonstrates that where friction or impact related vibrations are present, structural dynamic “health” monitoring schemes can be used to track changes in operating response signatures and schedule condition-based maintenance or re-design.

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