This paper focuses on the formulation and validation of an automatic strategy for the selection of the locations and directions of strain gauges to capture at best the modal response of a blade in a series of modes. These locations and directions are selected to render the strain measurements as robust as possible with respect to random mispositioning of the gauges and gauge failures. The approach relies on the evaluation of the signal-to-noise ratios of the gauge measurements from finite element strain data and includes the effects of gauge size. A genetic algorithm is used to find the strain gauge locations-directions that lead to the largest possible value of the smallest modal strain signal-to-noise ratio, in the absence of gauge failure, or of its expected value when gauge failure is possible. A fan blade is used to exemplify the applicability of the proposed methodology and to demonstrate the effects of the essential parameters of the problem, i.e. the mispositioning level, the probability of gauge failure, and the number of gauges.

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