Cracks and voids are common defects in rotating systems and are a precursor to fatigue-induced failure. Identifying the presence and growth of cracks is a critical concept for the health monitoring and diagnostics of such systems. A combined computational and experimental study of the vibration characteristics of a composite hub flywheel rotor system with a cracked hub disk is presented. First, experimental testing of both in-plane and out-of-plane vibration characteristics using a rotor with a composite disk hub supporting a relatively massive rim was conducted. A crack was deliberately introduced into the hub disk during fabrication. Based upon these results, a finite element (FEA) model was developed to further explore the relationship between natural frequencies and crack properties. Finally, a simplified theoretical model for the primary in-plane vibration mode was developed and used in a series of parametric studies. Good agreement was found between the model predictions and the experimental results. It was observed that the presence of a crack tends to affect both the magnitudes and distribution of the rotor natural frequencies. Certain primary frequencies for rotors with a crack are smaller than for those without a crack. In addition, the frequency values of associated with the “in-crack” direction are generally smaller than those associated with the “off-crack” direction, introducing a non-symmetry into the rotordynamics which can serve as an indicator for rotor health monitoring.

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