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by K.A. Stetson and G. Weaver

ibration analysis of jet turbine and compressor blades is essential to their lifespan, because, if blades are excited into a vibratory resonance during operation of the engine, they may fail due to high-cycle fatigue. Accordingly, blades are designed not to have resonant modes that will be excited during the operation of an engine, and their durability and design validation is conrmed by full-scale engine testing. Manufacturers of Parts Manufactured Approval (PMA) replacement blades must assure that their blades match the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) blades with respect to material structure, geometrical shape, and vibration properties.1 Vibration properties of PMA blades are compared to OEM blades by comparing the frequencies and the shapes of their resonant modes. This is commonly done by mounting the blade in a broach block that geometrically simulates its mounting in an engine, exciting it into vibration, and scanning the excitation frequency for resonances. At each resonance, the mode shape is recorded and in the end, the mode shapes are compared to standard OEM parts using Modal Assurance Criteria (MAC) calculations. (Refer to the Appendix of this paper for a denition of the MAC calculation.) It is preferred that these recordings be made via a noncontacting technique such as laser Doppler velocimetry or holographic interferometry.2

MAC calculations. The purpose of this study is to evaluate three-point mounting for holographic mode shape recording and to determine what, if any, modications are necessary to the Vibrant mounting and equipment to allow recording of holographic images and vibration data of turbine blades.


Vibrant uses a method known as process compensated resonance testing (PCRT) to determine resonant frequencies. Process compensated resonance testing is based on the fundamental physics principle that any hard component will resonate at specic frequencies that are a function of its mass, shape, and material properties. The resonance data is collected using the introduction of a swept sine wave into the component, a patented temperature compensation technique and the application of standard resonance ultrasound spectroscopy methodology. This method is much quicker and more accurate than standard ping testing; however, a threepoint mounting xture is required for each blade in much the same way that a specic broach block is required for each blade root, and the orientation of the blade on the supports must be very repeatable to assure that it does not contribute to variations in mode frequencies. The hardware used is a high-end signal generator, a piezo-electric drive transducer, two piezo-electric receiver transducers, and custom-built repeatable xturing. All Vibrant resonance data collection is also performed with complete conformance to ASTM Standard Practice E2534-10, which is the standard practice for PCRT via swept sine input. The collection of resonance frequencies using this method is highly accurate and combined with Vibrants pattern recognition software algorithms has allowed Vibrant to identify resonant frequency differences that are inherent to a large range of internal and external discontinuities as well as material property variations and anomalies. The accuracy and repeatability of this method was the incentive for exploring the pseudo-free holographic mode shape collection and analysis.

Ideally, blade testing would take place in the engine environment. As duplicating the temperature and stress conditions of the engine is excessively expensive, room temperature testing in a broach block is often used. It is assumed that if two blades exhibit essentially identical modes in a laboratory mounting, they should also exhibit similar behavior in the engine environment, and this type of testing is in current use. However, difculty arises with broach block mounting, because the block itself can have vibration modes that may couple with those of the blade to create a doubling of the responses of certain modes of the blade when the vibratory excitation is applied to the block itself. Acoustic excitation can, in some cases, circumvent this difculty, but it is not an efcient excitation of the blade, and noise level it generates requires operator ear protection and/or acoustic isolation of the laboratory room. Therefore, an alternative to broach block mounting is desirable. Pseudo-free mounting consists of supporting the blade on three points. Vibrant Corporation has developed such a mounting scheme where one mounting point consists of a piezo-electric driver and the other two consist of piezo-electric pickups. This arrangement, coupled with software routines, allows rapid and very consistent recording of modal frequencies; however, mode shape recordings are also necessary for
K.A. Stetson (SEM member, kastetson@holofringe.com) is president of Karl Stetson Associates, LLC, Coventry, CT. G. Weaver (gweaver@vibrantndt.com) is director of operations with ASNT Level III RT, PT, Vibrant Corporation, Albuquerque, NM.

Two blades were received for initial testing to conrm that three-point mounting was adequately stable for holographic recording. An experimental xture was then fabricated to support them on two corners of the platform and one point on the airfoil, consistent with Vibrant test xturing, and each blade was observed vertically via a 45 mirror. This mounting proved to be adequate for not only simple recording of Jo fringe patterns but also for data recording, which involves recording a sequence of holograms. The preferred orientation of the blade was with the concave surface upward so that the obliquity of the surface was minimized. Next, for comparison with previous testing performed by Vibrant, a
doi: 10.1111/j.1747-1567.2010.00679.x 2010, Society for Experimental Mechanics




set of 10 OEM turbine blades that had been serviced in a jet engine were received along with a xture for their testing. These were CFM56-7b high-pressure hollow cored blades with intricate internal air channels for cooling. There was also a thermal barrier coating for erosion and oxidation resistance purposes. The blades were removed in serviceable condition with no known defects, but were in need of a tip restoration. The Vibrant xture was set up in the holography system so that the blades could be observed vertically via a 45 mirror. It was discovered that the excitation provided by piezoelectric driver in the Vibrant test xture did not generate enough response to see fringes in a holographic setup. The Vibrant systems use a very sensitive contact tip on their piezo transducers which allows for much lower excitation levels. This difference between the excitation requirements was problematic for this application and therefore, a duplicate mounting arrangement xture was constructed using twosteel ball-head bolts to simulate the two pickup points and an 18-mm piezo stack in place of the driver, as shown in Fig. 1a. Steel is not the optimal material for point contact, but it proved to work with this particular application. Another essential feature of the Vibrant xture is a set of three registration pins against which the blade is positioned to assure repeatable location on the three support points. In



Fig. 2: (a and b) Two views of the xture with a turbine blade in place


the Vibrant xture, the blade is raised up away from the pins so that they do not contact the blade during data recording. For this simulation unit, an L-bracket was made that t onto one corner of the block into which the three pins were set. This bracket is shown in Fig. 1b. The bracket was held in place with an elastic band, and the turbine blade was set on the three support points and pressed against the three registration pins. Two views of this are shown in Fig. 2a and b. The elastic was then removed and the bracket with its pins carefully slid away from the blade. Registration of the blade on the supports is essential in order to use holographic data for MAC calculations, as described in the Appendix. This xture, with a blade in place, was initially observed via a 45 mirror that allowed vertical illumination and observation. Initial testing showed that when excitation was adequate to generate observable fringes in a hologram display, the blade would often slightly shift on the supports. Furthermore, the excitation required to get adequate responses was often excessive, and evidence was observed of nonlinear vibratory response and of generation of excitation at other than the drive frequency due to chatter. Specically, resonant responses were observed to be asymmetrical, that is, the vibration amplitude would increase gradually with

Fig. 1: (a) Three-point support and (b) three-point support with an additional L-bracket with three registration pins



decreasing frequency and then suddenly drop in amplitude. Subsequent increase in frequency would result in amplitudes that were lower than those found at the same frequency during the downward sweep. Eventually, the response would jump to a higher level, showing a hysteresis effect. This behavior is consistent with what is called a soft spring as described by Dufngs equation.3 We have no explanation for this apparent nonlinear response because the amount of displacement was far too low to expect this kind of behavior. We presume it has to do with the lack of perfect contact of the transducer and the blade over the entire vibration cycle. Another effect, presumed to be due to chatter, was that above a certain level of excitation amplitude a set of fringes were observed that were essentially parallel to the platform and consistent with a low-frequency rocking of the blade. It was found that we could eliminate these problems by applying a very small drop of cyanoacrylate cement to the piezoelectric stack before placing the blade in place. The amount of cement was made small enough that the blade could be removed easily after testing, and the cement was also easily removed from both the blade and the piezo stack. The use of cement allowed easy excitation and recording of the specic required vibration modes for this study from 9 to 23 kHz. The vertical illumination and observation also created problems. The most actively vibrating area on this blade is the trailing edge where it is thinnest. When mounted with the platform edge horizontal, the trailing edge of the blade was at nearly 45 to vertical. This reduced the spacing between the observed fringes and this, in turn, created trouble in the unwrapping step that is part of the data capture process. To solve this problem, a mirror mounted at 22.5 was used to illuminate and observe the blade at 45 to vertical. This provided very good observation of the trailing edge, and the fringes were spaced widely enough for reliable phase unwrapping. Figure 3 shows the blade placed in front of the 22.5 mirror. To improve reectivity, the blade was lightly coated with a removable white spray-on powder called SpotCheck. This powder is easily removed and does not damage the parent material or the coatings. Three bolts were also placed in the table so that the support block could be relocated identically for each blade.



Fig. 4: (a) The sixth vibration mode of blade #063 as Jo fringes. (b) The same vibration mode converted to numerical data

Data were recorded for the rst 10 modes of all the 10 blades provided. It was noted that, due to distortion provided by the excitation amplier of the piezo-electric stack, some modes were excited by the second harmonic of the drive frequency. It was useful, therefore, to use a microphone to detect the actual frequency of vibration of the blade and compare this to the excitation frequency. As an example of the results obtained, Fig. 4a and b shows, respectively, the Jo fringe pattern and the data recording for the sixth mode of the blade identied as #063. Note that the blade is seen in a mirror and thus its image is rotated about a horizontal axis.

Repeatability of Modal Assurance Criteria Values

Two blades, #119 and #120, were chosen arbitrarily to determine the repeatability of the data obtained for MAC calculations. The letters A and B are used to identify the rst and second recordings of the vibration modes of each blade. Each blade was located and spot cemented to the piezo stack and data were recorded for its rst 10 modes as data set A for that blade. The blade was then removed, the spot of cement

Fig. 3: The blade mounted in front of a 22.5 mirror




Table 1Repeatability of data recorded for blade #120


Table 3MAC values for four blades using #120 and #119 as the standards
BLADE MAC VALUES MODES 120120 120119 120063 120052



f /fav

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

0.999 0.999 0.997 0.997 0.992 0.993 0.994 0.995 0.996 0.994

8123 9370 11,765 14,794 15,498 18,485 20,202 20,989 21,835 23,054

8118 9372 11,763 14,833 15,480 18,484 20,179 20,987 21,847 23,044

6.16E04 2.13E04 1.70E04 2.63E03 1.16E03 5.41E05 1.14E03 9.53E05 5.49E04 4.34E04

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

0.995 0.99 0.954 0.997 0.949 0.984 0.877 0.585 0.476 0.954

0.999 0.995 0.984 0.983 0.881 0.969 0.952 0.774 0.57 0.944

0.998 0.998 0.997 0.997 0.913 0.992 0.966 0.977 0.955 0.961

Table 2Repeatability of data recorded for blade #119

MAC A to A #119A MAC A to B #119B FREQUENCY (Hz) #119A FREQUENCY (Hz) #119B f /fav

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

0.995 0.991 0.958 0.996 0.948 0.985 0.884 0.581 0.474 0.954

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

0.995 0.991 0.984 0.984 0.963 0.973 0.941 0.893 0.932 0.93

0.996 0.993 0.961 0.996 0.984 0.987 0.816 0.509 0.353 0.953

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

0.999 0.998 0.998 0.996 0.997 0.997 0.997 0.992 0.995 0.994

8043 9415 11,618 14,442 15,297 18,447 20,316 20,971 21,613 23,686

8043 9418 11,622 14,446 15,296 18,446 20,317 20,983 21,618 23,683

0.00E+00 3.19E04 3.44E04 2.77E04 6.54E05 5.42E05 4.92E05 5.72E04 2.31E04 1.27E04

removed, and the blade recemented and relocated. A second recording of the same modes was made as data set B for each blade. Both data sets for each blade were compared via a MAC calculation program called ModeMatch. The results for the A and B recordings of blade #120 are presented in Table 1, and the results for blade #119 are presented in Table 2. The MAC values comparing each data set A to itself are unity as should be expected. The MAC values comparing each data set A to data set B quantify the similarity of the two data recordings. The results are excellent, all above 0.99. The mode frequencies are also compared by calculating a normalized difference of the two values recorded. These are also quite good, the largest value being just over 0.1%.

shows the Jo fringes for blades #120, #119, #63, and #052. These four blades were chosen from the 10 available because they exhibited the greatest variation of mode shapes. There is a strong similarity for mode 9 between blades #120 and #052 and between blades #119 and #063, but the two pairs disagree with each other. Vibrants resonance data, as shown in Fig. 6, supports this subgrouping. The pattern, or spacing, of modes 8 and 9 is similar for #120 and #052, and for #119 and #063, but the two pairs show signicant difference. Table 3 quanties this difference via the MAC values. When blade #120 is used as the standard, #052 shows strong correlation, but #119 and #063 do not. When blade #119 is used as the standard, #063 shows strong correlation, but #120 and #052 do not. The results presented in this table also show substantial differences for mode 8, depending upon which blade is used as a standard. The low MAC values for modes 79 are clearly produced by an unknown variation in the blade characteristics. As these blades were all service-return OEM manufactured blades that had run through an entire service cycle before this testing, we do not know whether this mode shape variation is due to deterioration or whether it results from an acceptable manufacturing variation. Determination of physical reasons for these variations is not a consideration for this paper. Our point is that the resulting mode shape variations can be measured and quantied by the frequency scanning procedures used by Vibrant and holographic interferometry.

Mode Shape Variation

Among the 10 blades tested, mode 9 showed the greatest variability. An example of this is shown in Fig. 5, which







Fig. 5: Mode 9 for (a) #12021,385 Hz, (b) #11921,618 Hz, (c) #06321,674 Hz, and (d) #05221,798 Hz




Fig. 6: Mode 9(a) #120, (b) #119, (c) #063, and (d) #052

The three-point mounting of turbine blades being used by Vibrant to provide a nearly free-free mounting from which resonances can be obtained rapidly and repeatedly was successfully applied to digital holographic vibration analysis. The results show that, with modication to excitation intensity and a minute adhesion between the exciting transducer and the blade, the responses are consistent and repeatable. Acceptable holographic analyses were performed that provided MAC values in excess of 0.99 when data were successively obtained on the same blades. The amount by which these MAC values are reduced from unity is consistent with noise effects due to changes in the speckle pattern resulting from laser illumination. Signicant variations in MAC values correlate with real changes in the mode shapes found in different blades due to unknown structural variations from either service or from manufacturing variations. Three-point mounting, therefore, offers a practical alternative for mounting the turbine blades in a standard broach block.

The denition of the MAC calculations performed using holographic data is described here, and some of the issues that must be considered are also dealt with here. Let us designate two similar vibration patterns, possibly from two separate objects, as 1 and 2 . In general, these will be vectorial quantities, but for holography or laser vibrometry systems with a single perspective, they will be scalars. The MAC calculation for these two patterns is MAC = [ [
2 1 2] , 2 2 1 2]


1. U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration, Advisory Circular No. 33.83-1, September 8, 2009. 2. Stetson, K.A., Calculating Modal Assurance Criteria for Electronic Holography Data, Sound and Vibration 610 (2008). 3. Stoker, J.J., Nonlinear Vibrations, Chap. 4, John Wiley & Sons, New York (1950).

where indicates a summation over the number of data points on the object. Note that this calculation is self-normalizing and any factor multiplying either pattern will be canceled allowing the MAC values to range from 0 to 1. In order to apply this calculation to holographic vibration analysis data, several things must be considered. First, the images of both objects should be the same size in the data le. This can be accomplished by locating both objects at the same distance from the holographic optical head so as to eliminate variation of image size. The holography system used in this work uses a zoom lens to provide images of the objects under study, and it is essential, therefore, that the zoom lens magnication remain constant throughout such tests. It is also necessary that the two objects exhibit no relative rotation. Small shifts in vertical or horizontal position are accounted for by software analysis.