The latest generation micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) accelerometers offer high bandwidth and low noise floors previously limited to piezoelectric transducer (PZT) based sensors. These relatively low cost MEMS sensors drastically expand the financially practical applications for high frequency, vibration based, prognostic health management (PHM). This paper examines a physically redundant array of MEMS accelerometers for applications where sensor access after deployment is difficult or infeasible. Three identical single axis MEMS accelerometers were placed in an array for testing. Instead of a typical tri-axial configuration, the three sensors were placed with a common sensitivity axis. The construction and basic performance parameters of the MEMS array is discussed. Signal correlation was chosen as a condition indicator (CI) to use in conjunction with majority voting to determine sensor operating status. Signal correlation is reviewed and various synthesized signals were analyzed to study the anticipated cross-correlation of different waveforms. The theoretical effect of sensor noise was analyzed to determine its impact on the method. Auto-correlation was used with previously collected vibration data to confirm feasibility with real world signals. Subsequent measurements with the physically redundant array of impulses and motor vibration show the feasibility of implementing robust MEMS accelerometer arrays using the latest generation of high bandwidth MEMS accelerometers. Planned future work includes deploying the sensor array on tribology test equipment to validate MEMS sensor effectiveness compared to traditional PZT based accelerometers for the detecting of scuffing faults.
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Accelerometers, MEMS, vibration, scuffing, bearings, gears, automotive, aerospace
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