The Hilbert-Huang Transform (HHT) is a fully adaptive time-frequency analysis method which is applicable to nonlinear and nonstationary processes. However, this promising method is fairly new and its range of applications is not well known. Furthermore, its mathematical framework is not yet fully developed. So far, the HHT has yielded interesting results for many applications such as biomedical, geophysical, meteorological and health monitoring, but there is no evidence of its application on complex mixed-mode vibration signals. To fill that gap, this paper investigates the application of the HHT to detect the different modes of road vehicle vibration signals. These modes originate from road roughness variation and vehicle speed which create nonstationary random vibration. Other modes are due to road surface aberrations which create transient events and the engine and drive train system of the vehicle which create harmonic vibrations. The energy density/average period significance test based on the HHT is assessed to detect these modes. The results, based on purposefully created synthetic test signals, reveal the limitations and shortcomings of the HHT based technique to detect and separate the various components of the mixed-mode vibration signals such as vehicle vibration signal.

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