This paper presents a model based transverse crack identification method in rotating shafts suitable for industrial machines. The identification method and the relative theory is fully discussed, by presenting the breathing mechanism of the crack, the equivalent system of forces, which excites the vibrations of rotating shafts, the way to localize the crack position along the shaft and finally to identify the depth of the crack. This is obtained by using standard finite element models of the machine and the vibration measured in the bearings only, as usual in industrial machines. The proposed method will be validated by means of experimental results which are described in detail in the second part of the paper.

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