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# Free Vibrations concept checklist

## You should be able to:

1. Understand simple harmonic motion (amplitude, period, frequency,
phase)
2. Identify # DOF (and hence # vibration modes) for a system
3. Understand (qualitatively) meaning of natural frequency and
Vibration mode of a system
4. Calculate natural frequency of a 1DOF system (linear and nonlinear)

5. Write the EOM for simple spring-mass systems by inspection

6. Understand natural frequency, damped natural frequency, and
Damping factor for a dissipative 1DOF vibrating system
7. Know formulas for nat freq, damped nat freq and damping factor for
spring-mass system in terms of k,m,c
8. Understand underdamped, critically damped, and overdamped motion
of a dissipative 1DOF vibrating system
9. Be able to determine damping factor from a measured free vibration
response
10. Be able to predict motion of a freely vibrating 1DOF system given its
initial velocity and position, and apply this to design-type problems

Number of DOF (and vibration modes)

If masses are particles:

Expected # vibration modes = # of masses x # of directions
masses can move independently

If masses are rigid bodies (can rotate, and have inertia)

Expected # vibration modes = # of masses x (# of directions
masses can move + # possible axes of rotation)

k
m m
k k
x
1
x
2
k
m m
k k
x
1
x
2
Vibration modes and natural frequencies
A system usually has the same # natural freqs as degrees of
freedom
Vibration modes: special initial deflections that cause entire
system to vibrate harmonically
Natural Frequencies are the corresponding vibration frequencies
Calculating nat freqs for 1DOF systems the basics

EOM for small vibration of any 1DOF
undamped system has form

m
k,L
0
y
2
2
2
n
d y
y C
dt
e + =
1. Get EOM (F=ma or energy)
2. Linearize (sometimes)
3. Arrange in standard form
n
e
is the natural frequency

Useful shortcut for combining springs

k
1
k
2
Parallel: stiffness

1 2
k k k = +
k
1
k
2
Series: stiffness

k
1
k
2
m
k
1
+k
2
m
1 2
1 1 1
k k k
= +
k
1
m
Are these in series on parallel?

A useful relation

k,L
0
m
L
0
+
o
Suppose that static deflection
(caused by earths gravity) of a
system can be measured.

Then natural frequency is

Prove this!

n
g
e
o
=
o
Linearizing EOM

2
2
( )
d y
f y C
dt
+ =
Sometimes EOM has form

We cant solve this in general

2
2
0
2
2
0
(0) ...
1 (0)
y
y
d y df
m f y C
dt dy
d y df C f
y
dt m dy m
=
=
+ + + =

+ =
There are short-cuts to doing the Taylor expansion

Writing down EOM for spring-mass systems
s=L
0
+x
k, L
0
m
c
2
2
2
2
2
0
2 0
2
n n n
d x c dx k
m x
m dt m
dt
d x dx k c
x
dt m
km
dt
,e e e ,
= + + =
+ + = = =
F a
k
1
k
2
Commit this to memory! (or be able to derive it)

x(t) is the dynamic variable (deflection from static equilibrium)

Parallel: stiffness

1 2
k k k = +
c
2
c
1
Parallel: coefficient

1 2
c c c = +
k
1
k
2
Series: stiffness

1 2
1 1 1
k k k
= +
c
2
c
1
Parallel: coefficient

1 2
1 1 1
c c c
= +
k
1
k
2
m
Examples write down EOM for
c
2
c
1
m
2
k
k
1
m
c
If in doubt do F=ma, and
arrange in standard form
k
2
2
2
2
2
2 0
2
n n n
n
d y dy
m A By C
dt
dt
d x dx A
x B
dt
dt
,e e e ,
e
= + + =
+ + = = =
F a
Solution to EOM for damped vibrations
s=L
0
+x
k, L
0
m
c
2
2
2
2 0
2
n n n
d x dx k c
x
dt m
km
dt
,e e e , + + = = =
Initial conditions:

0 0
0
dx
x x v t
dt
= = =
0 0
0
( ) exp( ) cos sin
n
n d d
d
v x
x t t x t t
e
e e e
e
+
= +
`
)
1 < Underdamped:

Critically damped:

1 =
| | { }
0 0 0
( ) exp( )
n n
x t x v x t t e e = + +
0 0 0 0
( ) ( )
( ) exp( ) exp( ) exp( )
2 2
n d n d
n d d
d d
v x v x
x t t t t
e e e e
e e e
e e
+ + +
=
`
)
Overdamped:

1 >

Calculating natural frequency and damping
factor from a measured vibration response
Displacement
time
t
0
t
1
t
2
t
3
T
x(t
0
)
x(t
1
)
x(t
2
)
x(t
3
)
t
4
0
( ) 1
log
( )
n
x t
n x t
o
| |
=
|
\ .
Measure log decrement:

2 2
2 2
4
4
n
T
o t o
e
t o
+
= =
+
Measure period: T

Then