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# Mechanical Vibrations

## FREE VIBRATION RESPONSE OF A SYSTEM WITH

COULOMB DAMPING
A common damping mechanism occurring in machines is caused by sliding friction or dry
friction and is called Coulomb damping. Coulomb damping is characterized by the relation

f c = Fc ( x& ) = 0
N

x& > 0

x& = 0
x& < 0

The frictional force fc always opposes the direction of motion causing a system with
coulomb friction to be nonlinear. Summing forces in the x direction yields that (note that
the mass changes direction when the velocity passes through zero)
m&x& + kx = mg
Response of Second Order Systems

for

x& < 0

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Mechanical Vibrations

## In a similar fashion, summing forces in the opposite direction yields

m&x& + kx = mg

for

x& > 0

Since the sign of x& determines the direction in which the opposing frictional force acts,
previous equations can be written as the single equation as
m&x& + mg sgn( x& ) + kx = 0

## This equation can be solved numerically.

These equations can be also solved by considering the first equation and then the second.
The solution for the first can be written as
x(t ) = A0 cos n t + B0 sin n t +

mg
k

## Applying the initial conditions yields

x(0) = A0 +

mg

k
x& (0) = n B0 = 0

= x0

When the mass starts from rest (at x0) and moves to the left, it moves as
mg
mg

x(t ) = x 0
cos n t +
k
k

This motion continues until the first time x& (t ) = 0 . This happens when the derivative is zero,
or when
mg

x& (t1 ) = n x 0
sin n t1 = 0
k

Thus when

## Response of Second Order Systems

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Mechanical Vibrations

t1 =

, x& (t1 ) = 0
n

The mass starts to move to the right provided that the spring force, kx, is large enough to
overcome the maximum frictional force mg. Hence the second equation describes the
motion. Solving that equation yields
x(t ) = A1 cos n t + B1 sin n t

mg
k

The initial conditions for the second equation are calculated from the previous solution at t1

x
n

mg
mg
mg
= x 0
=2
x0
cos +
k
k
k

x&
n

mg

= n x 0
sin = 0
k

It follows that
Response of Second Order Systems

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Mechanical Vibrations
A1 = x 0 3

mg
k

B1 = 0

## The solution for the second interval of time then becomes

mg
mg

x(t ) = x 0 3
cos n t
k
k

2
<t <
n
n

This procedure is repeated until the motion stops. The motion will stop when the velocity is
zero and the spring force kx is insufficient to overcome the maximum frictional force.
Several things can be noted about the free response with Coulomb friction versus the free
response with viscous damping.
1. With Coulomb damping, the amplitude decays linearly with a slope
than exponentially as with the viscously damped system.

2 mg n
rather
k

2. The frequency of oscillation of a system with Coulomb damping is the same as the
undamped frequency, whereas viscous damping alters the frequency of oscillation.
3. The motion under Coulomb friction comes to a complete stop, at a potentially

different equilibrium position than when initially at rest, whereas a viscously damped
system oscillates around a single equilibrium, x = 0 , with infinitesimally small
amplitude. For example, the figure below shows the free response (displacement
versus time) of a system subject to Coulomb friction with two different initial
positions (5 m, solid line; and 4.5 m, dashed line) for zero initial velocity (m = 1000
kg, = 0.3, k = 5000 N/m). It can be noticed that the final position of the system
could be anywhere between the two lines x =

## Response of Second Order Systems

mg
k

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Mechanical Vibrations

EXAMPLE
The response of a mass-spring system oscillating on a rough surface is measured to be of
the form Coulomb damped motion. The initial position is measured to be 30mm from its
zero rest position, and the final position is measured to be 3.5mm from its zero rest
position after four cycles of oscillation in 1 second. Determine the coefficient of friction
between the mass and the surface.
Solution
First the frequency of motion is 4 cycles per second (4 Hz), or 25.13 rad/s. The slope of the
line of decreasing peaks is
slope =

0.0035 0.03
= 0.0265 m/s
1

slope =

2mg n
k

## But since for a mass-spring system

Response of Second Order Systems

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Mechanical Vibrations

n2 =

k
m

k = m n2

slope =

2mg n

m n2

2 g

n
2g

( slope)

=

n
2g

( slope) =

(25.13)
2(9.81)

(0.0265) = 0.107

## NUMERICAL SIMULATION OF THE TIME RESPONSE

Consider a damped system of the form
m&x& + cx& + kx = 0 x(0) = x 0

## x& (0) = x& 0

This equation can be written as two first-order equations. Dividing the equation by the mass
m and define two new variables x1 = x and x 2 = x& . Then differentiate the definition of x1
rearrange the equation and replace x and its derivative with x1 and x2 to get
x&1 = x 2
x& 2 =

k
c
x1 x 2
m
m

subject to the initial conditions x1 (0) = x 0 and x 2 (0) = x& 0 This system can be solved using
Matlab

EXAMPLE
Use Matlabs ode45 function to simulate the response of
3&x& + x& + 2 x = 0
Response of Second Order Systems

x(0) = 0

## x& (0) = 0.25

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Mechanical Vibrations

## over the time interval 0 t 20.

Solution
The first step is to write the equation of motion in first-order form. This yields
x&1 = x 2
x& 2 =

2
1
x1 x 2
3
3

Next, an M-file is created to store the equations of motion. The file is created by choosing a
name, say sdof.m, and entering

## Next, go to the command mode and enter

The first line establishes the initial (t0) time and final time (tf).
The second line creates the vector containing the initial conditions x0.
The third line creates the two vectors t, containing the time history and x containing the
response at each time increment in t (including first derivative), by calling ode45 applied to
the equations set up in sdof.m.
Response of Second Order Systems

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Mechanical Vibrations

The fourth line plots the vector x versus the vector t. This is illustrated in Figure.

EXAMPLE
Find the free vibration response of a spring-mass system subject to Coulomb damping for
the following initial conditions: x(0) = 0.5 and x& (0) = 0 . Let m = 10 kg, k = 200 N/m, and = 0.5 .
Solution:
The equation of motion can be expressed as
m&x& + mg sgn( x& ) + kx = 0

## We rewrite the equation as a set of two first-order differential equations as follows:

x&1 = x 2
x& 2 = g sgn( x 2 )

k
x1
m

The MATLAB program ode23 is used to find the solution as shown below.
An M-file is created by choosing a name, say dfunc1.m, and entering

## Response of Second Order Systems

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Mechanical Vibrations

Next, another M-file is created by choosing a name, say ex1.m, containing these lines

Finally, go to the command mode and type the name of the file, ex1, then press enter