As the failure-induced component (FIC) in the vibration signals of bearings transmits through housings and shafts, potential phase synchronization is excited among multichannel signals. As phase synchrony analysis (PSA) does not involve the chaotic behavior of signals, it is suitable for characterizing the operating state of bearings considering complicated vibration signals. Therefore, a novel PSA method was developed to identify and track the failure evolution of bearings. First, resonance demodulation and variational mode decomposition (VMD) were combined to extract the mono-component or band-limited FIC from signals. Then, the instantaneous phase of the FIC was analytically solved using Hilbert transformation. The generalized phase difference (GPD) was used to quantify the relationship between FICs extracted from different vibration signals. The entropy of the GPD was regarded as the indicator for quantifying failure evolution. The proposed method was applied to the vibration signals obtained from an accelerated failure experiment and a natural failure experiment. Results showed that phase synchronization in bearing failure evolution was detected and evaluated effectively. Despite the chaotic behavior of the signals, the phase synchronization indicator could identify bearing failure during the initial stage in a robust manner.
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