On the hierarchical Bayesian modelling of frequency response functions

by   T. A. Dardeno, et al.

Population-based structural health monitoring (PBSHM) aims to share valuable information among members of a population, such as normal- and damage-condition data, to improve inferences regarding the health states of the members. Even when the population is comprised of nominally-identical structures, benign variations among the members will exist as a result of slight differences in material properties, geometry, boundary conditions, or environmental effects (e.g., temperature changes). These discrepancies can affect modal properties and present as changes in the characteristics of the resonance peaks of the frequency response function (FRF). Many SHM strategies depend on monitoring the dynamic properties of structures, so benign variations can be challenging for the practical implementation of these systems. Another common challenge with vibration-based SHM is data loss, which may result from transmission issues, sensor failure, a sample-rate mismatch between sensors, and other causes. Missing data in the time domain will result in decreased resolution in the frequency domain, which can impair dynamic characterisation. The hierarchical Bayesian approach provides a useful modelling structure for PBSHM, because statistical distributions at the population and individual (or domain) level are learnt simultaneously to bolster statistical strength among the parameters. As a result, variance is reduced among the parameter estimates, particularly when data are limited. In this paper, combined probabilistic FRF models are developed for a small population of nominally-identical helicopter blades under varying temperature conditions, using a hierarchical Bayesian structure. These models address critical challenges in SHM, by accommodating benign variations that present as differences in the underlying dynamics, while also considering (and utilising), the similarities among the blades.


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