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You are on page 1of 8

By Tom Irvine

Email: tomirvine@aol.com

January 29, 2005

________________________________________________________________________

Introduction

Damping in mechanical systems may be represented in numerous formats. The most

common forms are Q and , where

Q is the amplification or quality factor

These two variables are related by the formula

Q=

1

2

(1)

The Q value is equal to the peak transfer function magnitude for a single-degree-offreedom subjected to base excitation at its natural frequency. This simple equivalency

does not necessarily apply if the system is a multi-degree-of-freedom system, however.

Another damping parameter is the frequency width f between the -3 dB points on the

transfer magnitude curve. The conversion formula is

f

Q= n

f

(2)

The -3 dB points are also referred to as the half power points on the transfer magnitude

curve.

Equation (2) is useful for determining the Q values for a multi-degree-of-freedom system

as long as the modal frequencies are well separated.

Consider the single-degree-of-freedom system in Figure 1.

m

c

Figure 1.

Given:

1. The mass is 1 lbm ( 0.00259 lbf sec^2/in ).

2. The spring stiffness is 1000 lbf/in.

3. The damping value is 5%, which is equivalent to Q=10.

fn

1 k

2 m

(3)

Now consider that the system is subjected to base excitation in the form of a sine sweep test. The

resulting transfer function magnitude is given in Figure 2, as calculated using the method in

Reference 1.

100

10

0.1

0.01

10

20

50

100

200

400

FREQUENCY (Hz)

The peak transfer function magnitude is equal to the Q value for this case, which is Q=10.

Consider the two-degree-of-freedom system in Figure 3.

x2x

m2

k2

m1

x1

k1

Figure 3.

Given:

1. Each mass is 1 lbm ( 0.00259 lbf sec^2/in ).

2. Each spring stiffness is 1000 lbf/in.

3. Each mode has a damping value of 5%, which is equivalent to Q=10.

The resulting natural frequencies are 61.1 Hz and 160.0 Hz, as calculated using the method

in Reference 2.

Now consider that the two-degree-of-freedom system is subjected to base excitation in the

form of a sine sweep test. The resulting transfer function magnitude is given in Figure 4.

100

Mass 2

Mass 1

10

0.1

0.01

10

20

50

100

200

400

FREQUENCY (Hz)

Each mass is represented by a separate curve in the transfer function plot. The Q value

for each mode cannot be determined by simple inspection for this case.

Mass 2

Mass 1

11.75

8.3

0

40

57.9

61.1

64.1

80

FREQUENCY (Hz)

The -3 dB points occur at 57.9 Hz and at 64.1 Hz

The Q value for the first mode is calculated as

f

Q= n

f

Q=

(4)

61.1

= 9.9 10

6. 2

(5)

4

Mass 2

Mass 1

3

2.8

0

120

140

152.3

160

167.9

180

200

FREQUENCY (Hz)

The -3 dB points occur at 152.3 Hz and at 167.9 Hz

The Q value for the second mode is calculated as

f

Q= n

f

Q=

(6)

160

= 10.3 10

15.6

(7)

References

1. T. Irvine, The Steady-state Response of Single-degree-of-freedom System to a

Harmonic Base Excitation, Vibrationdata, 2004.

2. T. Irvine, The Generalized Coordinate Method for Discrete Systems Subjected to

Base Excitation, Vibrationdata, 2004.

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