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In mechanical systems, modeling of components can be done as either finite

dimensional of infinite dimensional. Finite dimensional systems can be expressed with
lumped parameters such as spring, mass and damping coefficients.

Figure X: 1DOF Mass Spring Damper System

Since there is a finite number of equations, finite dimensional system modeling will be
valid only under some large assumptions. As an example, if a simply supported beam is to be
modeled as a mass spring system, its spring coefficient is found by calculating the deflection
under a load.

Figure X: Simply Supported Beam


where F is the force applied on the beam,

is the deflection,

k is the spring constant (transverse stiffness) of the beam.

By calculating the deflection on the beam from,

max=FL3 /48 EI
spring constant (transverse stiffness) of the beam can be found as
k =48 EI /L3
where E is the young modulus,
I is the moment of inertia
L is the length of the beam.
After calculating the spring constant (transverse stiffness), natural frequency(wn) of
the beam can be calculated as



Natural frequency is a parameter showing that how a system will vibrate when an
initial condition is given to a system.[1] If a system is excited by a harmonic force, as the
excitation frequency becomes closer to the natural frequency the transmissibility (T) on the
system significantly increases. This occasion is called as resonance. If there is no damping
-which is not possible at real systems lim T ( w )=

w wn

and by adding damping coefficient to the system or vibration control mechanism, adverse
effects of resonance might be prevented.[2]

Figure X: Frequency Ratio vs Transmissibility

Even if a finite dimensional modeling gives us an idea about how a system vibrates at
different excitation frequencies and how the force is transmitted as the excitation frequency
gets closer to the natural frequency, a deeper level of understanding is essential since the
system cannot be modeled with lumped parameters in real life. Within this perspective the
systems are assumed to have infinite degrees of freedom.
In the experiment a shaft is rotated at angular velocities that can be measured. Even if
the shaft did not have any defects, there was a deflection due to its weight and gravitational
force. Adding all these mass unbalances, a distance of "e" which is between the rotation axis
and the center of mass of the shaft under static conditions occurs. As the shaft rotates, there
will be a deflection which will be noted as " ". Hence, the distance between center of mass
and axis of rotation will become "e+ ". If the transverse stiffness of the beam is noted as kt,
the deflection force will become

As the shaft rotates with an angular velocity "w", the cntrifugal force will become

Fc= M w ( + e)

Since the deflection force is equal to the centrigugal force,

kt =M 2 ( +e )

In a more proper expression,

M e
M 2
k t 1

Since we know that


The deflection equation is arranged as



( )

n 1



As it might be seen from the final equation, as rotation frequency gets closer to the
natural frequency deflection will be infinite and it does not matter how small the distance "e"
- the distance between the rotation axis and center off mass of the shaft- is.
Remembering the transverse natural frequencies of a thin uniform bar are calculated as

2 2 EI
, n=1,2,3,

Since gA = m, mass per length, equation is arranged as

wn=n2 2

, n=1,2,3,
m L4

The excitation frequency for each mode can be calculated by dividing the final
equation by 2 .

fn= n2
, n=1,2,3,
m L4

where fn is the natural frequency of transverse vibration (Hz)

E is the young modulus of the shaft (N/ m

I is the area moment of inertia of the shaft ( m )

m is the mass per length (kg/m)

L is the length of the shaft.
The mode shapes can be calculated by

y n=sin

( nxL ), n=1,2,3

As the excitation frequency increases and makes an increase on "n" different modes of
shapes can be observed. These shapes occur as sine waves. As n increases by 1, number of
half sine waves observed increases by 1 as well.

Figure X: Three Modes of a Whirling Shaft

Apart from whirling of shafts experiment, mode shapes can also be observed on a
simply supported elastic string. The mode shapes are observed the same as a whirling shaft.
Half sine wave is observed at the first mode and as the number "n" increases, number of the
half sine waves increase as well. The natural frequency of the string can be expressed as,

f n=

where V is the wave propagation speed
L is the length of the string.

mechanical vibrations, Singiresu S. Rao