A rotating Timoshenko shaft with a single transverse crack is considered. The crack opens and closes during motion and is represented by generalized forces and moments. The shaft has simply supported ends, and the six coupled, piecewise-linear equations of motion (including longitudinal, transverse, and torsional displacements) are integrated numerically after application of Galerkin’s method with two-term approximations for each of the six displacements. Time histories and frequency spectra are compared for shafts with no crack and with a crack for which the crack depth is one-fifth of the shaft diameter. Free vibrations and the responses to a single axial impulse and periodic axial impulses are analyzed. The last case appears to provide an effective means for detecting cracks in rotating shafts.

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