Simulating Eddy Current Sensor Outputs for Blade Tip Timing

N Jamia, MI Friswell (Swansea University), S El-Borgi (Texas A&M University at Qatar) & R Fernandes (Texas A&M University, USA)

Advances in Mechanical Engineering, Vol. 10, No. 1, January 2018, 12pp.


Blade Tip Timing is a contactless method used to monitor the vibration of blades in rotating machinery. Blade vibration and clearance are important diagnostic features for condition monitoring, including the detection of blade cracks. Eddy current sensors are a practical choice for blade tip timing, and have been used extensively. As the data requirements from the timing measurement become more stringent and the systems become more complicated, including the use of multiple sensors, the ability to fully understand and optimize the measurement system becomes more important. This requires detailed modeling of eddy current sensors in the blade tip timing application; the current approaches often rely on experimental trials. Existing simulations for eddy current sensors have not considered the particular case of a blade rotating past the sensor. Hence, the novel aspect of this paper is the development of a detailed quasi-static finite element model of the electro-magnetic field to simulate the integrated measured output of the sensor. This model is demonstrated by simulating the effect of tip clearance, blade geometry and blade velocity on the output of the eddy current sensor. This allows an understanding of the sources of error in the blade time of arrival estimate and hence insight into the accuracy of the blade vibration measurement.

Paper Availability

This material has been published in the Advances in Mechanical Engineering and is published as an open access article.

Link to paper using doi: 10.1177/1687814017748020

Advances in Mechanical Engineering