Vehicle Electronics & Architecture (VEA)

Acoustic Based Sensing for Condition Based Maintenance

by Curtis Reichenfeld


Curtiss-Wright has developed an acoustic based sensor technology for measuring friction, shock, and dynamic load transfer between moving parts in machinery. This technology provides a means of detecting and analyzing machine structure borne ultrasonic frequency sounds caused by friction and shock events between the moving parts of the machine. Electrical signals from the sensors are amplified and filtered to remove unwanted low frequency vibration energy. The resulting data is analyzed as a computed stress wave energy value that considers the amplitude, shape, duration and rates of all friction and shock events that occur during a reference time interval. The ability to separate stress waves from the lower frequency operational noise makes this technology capable of detecting damaged gears/bearings and changes in lubrication in equipment earlier than other techniques, and before failure progression increases cost of repair. Already TRL9 in adjacent industries, this technology offers great costs saving potential for military ground vehicle maintainers.