Journal of Theoretical
and Applied Mechanics

49, 3, pp. 905-926, Warsaw 2011

Detecting nonlinear behaviour using the Volterra series to assess damage in beam-like structures

Cecilia Surace, Romualdo Ruotolo, David Storer
Using the example of a cracked cantilever beam, this paper illustrates a means of identifying damage in structures using the so-called higher order Frequency Response Function (FRFs) which are based on the Volterra series. It is well known that, when a beam subject to a dynamic excitation vibrates, a transverse ``breathing''crack present in the beam can change the state (from open to closed and vice-versa), causing nonlinear dynamic behaviour. A simple model of a cracked cantilever beam vibrating in its first mode is proposed. Across the frequency range which encompasses the first mode of vibration, it is possible to model the response characteristics of a cracked beam using a relatively simple asymmetric bilinear oscillator. As described in this article, it is possible to use these higher order FRFs to characterise the nonlinear behaviour of the cantilever beam and investigate the qualitative relation with the parameters of the fault such as entity and location. In this study, the case of single harmonic excitation has been considered initially. Then, a new characteristic function, again based on the higher order FRFs, is proposed for detecting the crack by exploiting the fact that due to the second-order nonlinear behaviour, two harmonic inputs combine to excite the sum of their frequencies. Comparisons are made between results derived using the simple model described and those obtained from a FE model simulating some experimental tests on the beam.
Keywords: breathing crack; nonlinear oscillation; Volterra series; higher order Frequency Response Functions