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A vibratory movement is periodic if there is a time period T that fulfills the equation:

( ) = ( + ),


Most of real vibrations have periodic evolutions, but very few of them are pure

2.3.1 Time domain description

Because the amplitude A and period T are not sufficient to characterize the time
evolution of a non-harmonic motion along one period, new parameters
represented by:
the arithmetic average RA-av,
the root mean square average RRMS ,and
the Crest Factor
were needed to be considered, Figure 2.1.
For the case of pure harmonic motion the Crest Factor = 2.
The elastic energy accumulated by the linear spring along one period is:

2 ()d
2 0


Divided this energy by one period the average power along one period is found
as being proportional with the square of XRMS revealing an important physical
significance which explains the large utilization of XRMS versus XA-av.

2.3.2 Frequency domain description. Harmonic analysis and frequency spectrum

To evaluate both
the effect of vibration on the mechanical structures, and
the necessary measures to limit the possible damages
it is very useful to have a clear description of the frequencies content of the
vibratory movement. That is achieved by frequency analysis method.
In conditions of Dirichlets restrictions the theorem of Fourier establishes that a
periodic vibration can be represented with arbitrary accuracy as a finite or infinite
sum of harmonic movements which have their angular frequencies as multiples
of the fundamental one:

( ) =


, =

=1[ cos( ) + sin( )]


The procedure is called the harmonic analysis of the periodic function x(t).
The angular frequency Is called fundamental and the movement x(t) is
considered as sum of harmonic movements that have frequencies equal to the
fundamental and its integer multiply.
The sum from equations (2.11) is called the Fourier series, where the constants Ar ,
Br and are called Fourier coefficients and are mathematically formulated as:


0 = 0 ()d

() = 0 ()cos() d,

() = 0 ()sin()d


The motion expressed by the equation (2.11) can be easily written as a sum of
sinusoidal motions having angular frequencies multiplies of the fundamental one,
(Eq. (2.10)):

( ) =


1 [ sin( + )]

In Eq. (2.14) the amplitudes Xr(r) and initial phases () are:


() = 2 + 2 ,

() = tan1 ( )


This procedure is called the harmonic analysis of a periodic motion (or, more
generally, periodic functions).
The harmonics can be plotted as vertical lines on the amplitude versus frequency
diagram called a frequency spectrum or a spectral diagram.
The spectrum of squared amplitudes is known as the power spectrum, and offers
information on how the vibration power is divided on different harmonics.
However, the power spectrum does not contain information regarding the initial
A reasonable accuracy is obtained even in the sum from Eq. (2.10) the first terms
are considered only. This statement will be sustained by two examples.

Example 2.1 Fourier series analysis of a rectangular wave.

The function x(t) of the hypothetic square motion is expressed as:
() = {


< < ( + 0.5)
} , = 0,1,2,3,
when ( + 0.5) < < ( + 1)

The Fourier series coefficients are obtained from Eqs. (2.12) and (2.13):

2 2
() = () cos() d = () cos() d + () cos() d =


2 1
2 1





2 2
() = () sin() d = () sin() d + () s in() d =




= 0 ,


for = (2 + 1), ,
for = 2, ,

( is odd)
( is even)

Fig. 2.4 Frequency spectrum for a rectangular wave

Exemple 2.2 The motion of the piston exemplified in Figure 2.5 is described
analytically by the equation:
3 4
() = [1 cos() + sin (t) +
sin () + sin6 () + ]
Only the first two terms attain significant values, and consequently the piston
acceleration becomes:
() = 2 [cos() + cos(2)]
The two components of the sum represent the frequency spectrum of the piston
motion; a suggestive description is got if amplitudes of acceleration are
presented as function of frequency( Figure 2.5).

Fig. 2.5 Periodic non-harmonic motion of a piston and its harmonic components.

2.3.3 Complex form of Fourier series

The complex representation of Fourier series presents any periodic motion as a
sum of contra-rotating vectors at equally spaced frequencies:

= 1 , ( 1 = , ).

() = =
=[ ( )

The amplitude of the r component is obtained from the integral:



( ) = /2 () 2 d


In Eq. (2.17) the quantity to be integrated is a product between the periodic

movement x(t) and the unit phasor 2 which rotates at the circular frequency
. If the periodic movement x(t) contains component rotating at a circular
frequency of + then its product with the mentioned phasor annulus the rotation
of this movement component such that it integrates with time at a finite value,
Figure 2.6(a). All components at other frequencies will still rotate even after
multiplication by the mentioned unit phasor and thus integrate to zero over the
periodic time, Figure 2.6(b).

Fig. 2.6 (a) Integration of a non-rotating vector to a finite value;

- (b) Integration of a phasor to zero
The Eq. (2.16) has the effect of extracting from the movement x(t) the
components it contains which rotate at each frequency , and also freezes the
phase angle of each as that existing at time zero (when 2 = 1). The actual
position of each vector at any other time t can thus be obtained by multiplying
its initial value ( ) by the oppositely rotating unit vector 2 . Consequently,

the movement x(t) will be the sum vector of all these vectors in their instantaneous
positions. That is the physical meaning of Eq. (2.16).
The series of complex values of ( ) represents the complex spectrum
components of the vibratory movement x(t). Because each frequency
component ( ) contains information relative to amplitude and phase
(equivalent real and imaginary part) the complex spectrum needs a 3D
representation, Figure 2.7.

Fig. 2.7 3D representation of the complex spectrum of a periodic movement.

As in the trigonometric Fourier series analysis, the complex Fourier series analysis
points out that a motion that is periodic in the time domain has a discrete
frequency spectrum that has all its spectrum components fall at frequencies
which are integral multiples of the fundamental frequency. However, the phasor
representation offers an intuitive explanation: the time for one rotation of the
phasor at the fundamental frequency 1 is the one time period. All the other

phasors rotate at speeds which are integer multiples of 1 so each of them rotate
its own integer number of turns during the movement period and all have
returned to their starting positions, and the whole process will begin to repeat
Because the time movement x(t) is a real-valued function, each component at
frequency must be matched by a component at which has equal
amplitude but opposite phase. In the complex plane that means equal real part
and opposite imaginary part that represent two complex conjugate complex

( ) = ( )
In this way the imaginary parts of all frequencies will always cancel and the
resultant will be always real.
() = 0 + 2Re[


Because the series of imaginary parts (or equivalently phase angles) is antisymmetric around zero frequency, the zero frequency (or DC) component has
zero (or ) phase angle and is always real.

2.3.4 Power of a time periodic motion. Power spectrum and Parcevals theorem.
Time domain analysis. The instantaneous power of the motion () is equal to
[()]2 .
The mean power over one period is given by integrating the instantaneous value
over one period (that represents the energy along one period) and dividing it by
the periodic time:

= 0 [()]2 d


For a typical harmonic component () = sin(21 + ) this results in:

_ =

2 sin2 (21 + )d =

0 [2 2 cos(21 + )] =



_ = [ ] = [_ ]


The power content at each frequency is obtained directly by the square of the
amplitude of the Fourier series component. The large of usage of the root mean
square value which, directly connected with mean power, becomes clear.
The distribution with frequency of the power content in the vibratory movement
represents its power spectrum.
Frequency domain analysis. In the frequency domain, except for the DC
component the amplitude of any ( ) is 2, and thus the square of this is 2 /4.
The amplitude spectrum is even and the negative frequency component (from
( ) so the square of its amplitude is also 2 /4.
The total mean power associated with the frequency will be 2 2, the same as
obtained in the time domain.
Parcevals theorem. The total power obtained by integrating the squared
instantaneous motion amplitude with time and dividing by this time are equal with
the total power obtained by summing the squared amplitudes of all frequencies
of the frequency component. This is called Parcevals theorem.

2.3.5 Fourier transform

A non periodic motion can be considered as having an infinite period, .
Letting the period the Fourier series can be extended to non periodic
In the case of , the spacing 1/T between the harmonics tends to zero and
the amplitudes Cr(f) become a continuous function of linear frequency = 1/ =
Also, in the assumption of infinite period, the equations (2.17) and (2.16) tend to:

() = () 2 d = (()) )

() = () +12 d = (())


The equations (2.22) and (2.23) represent the Fourier Transform Pair:
- the Eq. (2.22), called the forward Fourier transform, converts the motion
x(t) from time domain into the frequency domain, whereas
- the Eq.(2.23), called the inverse Fourier transform, converts the frequency
spectrum X(f) from frequency domain into the time domain.
The Fourier transform decomposes a wave form into its harmonics.

Experimental harmonic analysis. As result of a measurement the vibration x(t) is

obtained as a number of points x1(t1), x2(t2), x3(t3),, xN(tN).
If times t1, t2, t3,,, tN are not arbitrary, but are taken at N+1 equidistant points
over the period T, the constant value X0 and the coefficients Ar and Br can be
calculated numerically replacing the integrals in Eqs.(2.11) (2.13) by summations
and with the differential dt with = / :

0 =

=1 ( )

=1 ( ) cos (


) , and =

=1 ( ) sin (



However, practically is quite difficult to determine the beginning and the end of
the period itself. In a situation like this, the samples are taken over a number of
periods, and as the period is used the sum of these periods, that is the true length
of the sample. If the vibration is true periodic and the sampling is over an exact
multiple of the period, the first few terms will turn out to be zero, because a
periodic motion of period T cannot have harmonics of period greater than T.
For example, if the above formulae are applied of a period of 5T the first five terms
of Ar and Br will be at least A5 and B5.
However, in case of practical measurements of the values = ( ), small
harmonics of the period greater than T, called sub-harmonics, will always be
present. The main causes of sub-harmonics are numerical inaccuracies and nonexact periodicity of the measured vibration, assumed a periodic one.

Sampled time functions case. A sampled time function is represented by a

sequence of functions values of discrete equi-spaced points in time.
The sampled time functions are used in the computer data acquisition.
For sampled time functions the Fourier Transform takes the particular form:
() = =
, and
= ( )

( ) =

1 /2
() i2



where = .
Discrete Fourier Transform. When the sampling operation is achieved in time as
well as in frequency domains, both time motion and frequency spectrum are
implicitly periodic. The forward and inverse Fourier transforms are:

() = =1
() 2/ , and
() = =1
() 2/


Because the infinite continuous integral of Eqs. (2.22) and (2.23) have been
replaced by finite sums, the above forms represents the Discrete Fourier Transform
pair or DFT, and is the form used in computer analyses.
The Nyquist-Shanon sampling theorem. For a Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT) to
represent a vibration accurately, the original vibration must be sampled at a
sufficiently high rate. The appropriate rate of uniformly sampled time series is
determined by Nyquist-Shanon sampling theorem.
The sampling theorem states that any continuous baseband signal may be
identically reconstructed if the signal bandwidth limited and the sampling
frequency is at least twice the highest frequency of the baseband signal.
If a time signal is sampled uniformly, then the frequency corresponding to onehalf rate is called the Nyquist frequency.
The Nyquist frequency describes the high frequency cut-off of the system doing
the sampling and therefore is a propriety of that system. Any frequency exists in

the original movement which are at higher frequency than the Nyquist frequency
will be aliased to other lower frequency in the sampled band.
Examples. a)The stroboscope is an aliasing device designed to represent high
frequencies as low ones, even zero frequency when the picture is frozen.
b) The human ear can hear sounds with frequency from 20 Hz up to 20 kHz.
Therefore, nearperfect audio digital recording systems must sample audio signals
at least 40 kHz to be Nyquist sampled. Practically audio CDs are sampled at 44.1
kHz which allows imperfect low-pass audio filters to filter out higher frequencies
which would otherwise be alised into the audible band.
Power spectra. The conservation energy principle requires that the energies in the
time and frequency domains are equal, that mathematically implies that the
integral of the squared modulus of the function equals the integral power

|()|2 d = |()|2 d
The last equation represents the Parcevals thorem.



A mechanical structure is a combination of masses, springs and dampers. In a
linear approach, if any of these is exposed to a constant force, Figure 2.9, they
react, with a constant displacement, a constant acceleration and a constant
velocity, respectively. In rotational motion the displacements, velocities and
accelerations are defined as angular motions, angular velocities and angular
accelerations r, and correspondingly the stiffness and damping coefficients are
defined with reference to these parameters, (Table 2).
During the vibratory motion there is a permanent alternating transfer between the
kinematic energy of the moving masses and potential energy stored in the
stressed springs. If dampers were present some energy is dissipated in each period
of the vibration movement so that its level is continuously diminished till vanishes,
unless an equivalent amount of energy was supplied from an external source.

Fig. 2.9 Effect of a constant force on a spring, a damper and a mass


Table 2. Analogous quantities in translational and rotational vibrating systems

Translational quantity
Linear displacement

Rotational quantity

Angular displacement

Linear velocity


Angular velocity


Linear acceleration


Angular acceleration




Spring stiffness

Spring stiffness

Damping coefficient

Damping coefficient


Moment of inertia

Elastic force

Elastic torque

Damping force

Damping torque

Inertia force

Inertia torque


The independent coordinates required to locate and orient, at any instant of
time, each mass in the mechanical structure are defined as generalized
coordinates. The number of generalized coordinates represents the number of
degrees-of-freedom (DOF) of the respective structure.
A point mass has 3 DOF since the location of the point mass requires knowing the
x, y and z translations. A rigid body mass has 6 DOF since besides the x, y and z
translations needed to define the location, the , , and rotations are
supplementary required to define its orientation at any instant of time.
Any real system is in fact a continuous structure with continuously distributed mass
and elasticity with infinite points whose movements are elastic waves that travel
along the system. The waves are mathematically described by a system of partial
differential equations, usually difficult to be solved. However, it is quite usual to
view a general mechanical structure in terms of a finite number of physical points
of interest with 1 to 6 DOF for each. In such a discrete system the any element
movements are harmonic motions, mathematically described by a system of
ordinary differential equations, much easier to be solved.
In many applications the real mechanical system is modeled as lumped
parameter type system:
masses are assumed as rigid bodies where all points within body moves in phase;
elastic elements (springs) are assumed to have no mass.
For the automotive car presented in Figure 2.10(a) the modeling depicted in
Figure 2.10(b) allows the mass Mcar to perform only the vertical motion x(t) without
any rotation, and represents the single degree-of-freedom (SDOF) modeling.
A more realistic approach considers the masses of different aggregates as being
interconnected by a number of springs and dampers that lead to a multi degreesof-freedom modeling.

Fig.2.10 Modeling of car structure a-single degree of freedom: (a)-car to be

modeled, (b) un-damped SDOF modeling, (c)- 2DOF modeling, (d)-MDOF.
The Figure 2.10(c) exemplifies a two degrees-of-freedom (2DOF) modeling, where
the generalized coordinates x1(t) and x2(t) allow the mass Mcar to perform a
vertical translation as well as a rotation around a transversal axis.
The Figure 2.10(d) exemplifies a more complex five degrees-of-freedom (5DOF)
car modeling.
While in lumped parameter systems all points within a mass are supposed to move
in phase, this is no longer true for continuous systems which have the mass and
elasticity continuous distributed. The versatile finite element method studies the
vibrations of continuous systems by replacing the continuous mass and elasticity
by a large number of discrete elements.


A SDOF system necessary contains two elements: a mass and a spring, but in most
of practical SDOF structures a damper is present, Figure 3.1.
The inertia and elastic parameters are obtained from physical calculations
whereas the damping coefficient is established from measurements. The vibratory
motion is the result of an initial disturbance (free vibration) or of an excitation
represented by an external force f(t) acting on the mass or a support
displacement u(t) (forced vibration).
As long as every component element is known the explicit form of vibratory
movement is obtained as the solution of the equation of motion.

Fig. 3.1 SDOF model

For a linear SDOF modeling the equation of motion is represented by an ordinary
differential equation obtained using analytic mechanic methods (Newtons
second law of dynamics, DAlemberts principle, Lagranges equation).

() + () + () = ()


The force of inertia, damper reaction force and spring reaction force represented
by the three terms in the left-hand side dynamically balance the external force.
The importance of the role of SDOF systems in vibration theory derives from that
any linear system behaves like:
- a SDOF system near an isolated natural frequency, and
- as a connection of SDOF systems in a wider frequency range.


For no external loading the non-homogeneous equation (3.1) transforms in the
corresponding homogeneous form (3.2):

() + () + () = 0

The SDOF system moves free as result of an initial disturbance which

mathematically provide the initial conditions:

( = 0) = 0 and

( = 0) = 0 = 0

needed to particularize the general solution of the free vibratory movements.

3.1.1 Natural frequency for an un-damped SDOF system

For un-damped SDOF system Figure 3.2, the Eq. (3.2) becomes:

() + () = 0
with the solution x(t):

() = sin (

) + cos (

) = Csin (

+ )

that represents a pure harmonic motion, Figure (3.2). The term:


0 =



represents the angular natural frequency of the SDOF system. The corresponding
time period T and linear natural frequency f are:


(sec) ;


0 =




The angular natural frequency depends on the inertial (m, J) and elasticity (k)
parameters of physical components of the vibratory system, but does not depend
on type and value of the initial disturbance, Figure 2.9.
The data referring to initial disturbance establish the values for the integration
constants, the amplitude C and initial phase , respectively.

Fig. 3.2 Free vibrations of an un-damped SDOF system

3.1.2 Natural frequency for a damped SDOF system

A viscous linear damper having the damping constant c is considered
additionally to the mass m and the spring k, Figure 3.3. A critical value for damping
coefficient is defined as :

= 2 , =

= 2


The position of the actual damping constant relative to the critical value is
nominated by the ratio = called the fraction of critical damping.
The equation of motion is given by the solution for the Eq. (3.1). The form of the
solution depends upon the value of the damping coefficient c versus the critical
value cc
Case 1. Less than critical damping, ( < < 1). The solution is a harmonic
motion having amplitudes decreasing along time:

() = [cos( ) + sin( )] = sin(d + )


where the natural angular frequency is depending on the values of mechanical

parameters of the damped SDOF system, but not on the type or value of the
disturbance that created the vibratory motion :

= 0 1 2 = 1 2


The presence of damping alters insignificantly the natural angular frequency, but
determines a sharp diminishing of the amplitudes of free damped vibrations,
Figure 3.3. After a small number of oscillations the free vibration movement of a
damped system disappears.

Fig. 3.3 - Free vibrations of a SDOF system with under-critical damping

Case 2 ( = = 1) and case 3 ( > > 1) do not create oscillatory
motions. After the initial disturbance the body is moving exponentially to the
reference position, Figure 3.4.
Fig. 3.4 - Free vibrations of SDOF systems with critical damping and overcritical