A new simplified approach to modelling cracks in beams undergoing transverse vibration is presented. The modelling approach uses Euler–Bernoulli beam elements with small modifications to the local flexibility in the vicinity of cracks. This crack model is then used to estimate the crack locations and sizes, by minimizing the difference between the measured and predicted natural frequencies via model updating. The uniqueness of the approach is that the simplified crack model allows the location and damage extent to be estimated directly. The simplified crack model may also be used to generate training data for pattern recognition approaches to health monitoring. The proposed method has been illustrated using the experimental data on beam examples.
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