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method for determining the natural frequency in bending of a structure so that a check can be made to see whether this frequency coincides with that of any imposed dynamic load, particularly that caused by vortex shedding as a result of wind action. We shall not consider damping here and so shall not assess the amplitude of any resulting excitation. The method makes the reasonable and very practical assumption that any deflections of a structure are proportional to the applied force. Thus, the structural members may be considered to be springs. In accordance with Newton’s law of motion, the equation F = m.a states that if the structure carries a mass (m) its acceleration (a) is proportional to the applied force (F). By considering simple harmonic motion behaviour of the structure the basic equation required for assessment of natural frequencies is

no =

1 k 2π m

where no = frequency of vibration (cycles per second or Hz) k = elastic stiffness of the spring system supporting the mass (N/m) m = mass undergoing vibration (kg) So, we require information regarding the stiffness and mass of the system in order to determine the natural frequency. Note that the correct units for force, mass and length are N, kg and m, respectively, for this equation to give the frequency in c/s or Hz. As a simple example, consider a mass of 1.5kg suspended from a spring of stiffness 7N/mm.

k = 7 N/mm = 7 x 103 N/m

m = 1.5 kg

Hence,

1 7 x10 3 no = = 10.87 Hz 2π 1.5

000 N = = 6. for simplification.000kg).5mm under a load of 1kN.Consider a simply-supported bridge loaded at the quarter point by a vehicle of 10t (10.30 Hz 2 π 10.0015 m 1 6. we have spring stiffness (k) as k= load 1.000 Mass vibrated is m = 10.67 x10 5 no = = 1. then we can compute the natural frequency.000 kg so that Suppose we have a cantilever of length L with a load F at the end which causes a deflection (δ) at that point. the stiffness k is given by k= So. F L δ We know from simple beam bending theory that the end deflection for this configuration is given by F L3 δ= 3EI where E is the modulus of elasticity and I is the second moment of area of the section. 10 t L/4 3L/4 Ignoring the self-weight of the bridge.67 x10 5 N / m deflection 0. If the deflection at the loaded point has been either computed or measured to be 1. Hence. our basic equation for natural frequency becomes load F 3EI = = 3 deflection δ L no = 1 3EI 2 π m L3 .

each resulting from the coupled effect of m1 and m2 and the stiffness of the structure. It is equivalent in the sense that it is the value of the end mass that causes the same frequency of vibration as m1. Consider a cantilever with two masses. a structure (such as the bridge and cantilever we’ve just looked at) will have self-weight and this will affect the natural frequency. This is because each mass added to the structure must add one degree-of-freedom to the deflected shape. How can we determine the natural frequency of a structure with a uniformly distributed self-mass? This can be done by considering. two distinct frequencies arise from application of the basic natural frequency equation. respectively. our cantilever with two point masses. Hence. Before considering such a distributed self-mass we will look at a structural member consisting of two point masses (m1 and m2). m1 and m2 m1 m2 Below are two possible deflected shapes in which the masses deflect either in the same or in the opposite directions. The stiffness of the cantilever in the 2 modes must be different because the curvatures of the member are different in the two cases. Now we have two Newton’s equations instead of one F1 = m1 a1 and F2 = m2 a2 There are now two natural frequencies. . In structures it is usually (although not always) the lowest frequency that is of greatest concern because it is the one most likely to be associated with applied wind forcing (and also wave forcing).In practice. one being a mass m1 at a distance x from the support (A) and the second an equivalent end mass m e. for example.

m1 x A B me L The cantilever itself is still considered mass-less. me. we have 1 3EI 2 π m L3 1 3EI 2 π m1 x 3 1 3EI 2 π m e L3 For the mass m1 the part of the cantilever beyond the mass can be ignored since it is mass-less. Consider a small element of length dx situated a distance x from A. . We saw earlier that the frequency of a cantilever with a point load at the end was given by no = n1 = For the end mass. Its mass is m. Hence ne = If these two frequencies are to be equal then or m1 x3 = me L3 The self-mass of the cantilever can now be dealt with by applying a uniformly distributed mass of value m per metre along the entire length (AB). a cantilever with a self-mass uniformly distributed along its length would vibrate at the same frequency as a mass-less cantilever loaded at the end with a mass equal to ¼ of its actual self-mass.dx and the part of the end mass equivalent to this element is x me = m1 L 3 3 By integrating along the whole length we have x dm e = m dx L me = ∫ L 0 mL x m dx = 4 L 3 Hence.

The wind excitation of a structure takes many forms (see lecture notes) but one simple case of relevance to cantilevers and tower structures is vortex shedding excitation.75 x 107) x 103 x 10-6 = 6. we need to compute the total equivalent end point mass and put this into the natural frequency equation for a cantilever me = (equivalent end mass for 500 kg x/L = ½) + (equivalent end mass for 1. U is the wind speed and D is the breadth of the structure normal to the wind direction.75 x 10 4 no = = 3. In most practical cases the damped natural frequency is very close to the undamped natural frequency and so the values we have computed may be applied to the equivalent damped structure. St = 0.75 x 104 Nm2 Hence. It carries a mass of 500kg at its centre and has a uniformly distributed self mass of 1.5 kg EI = (6. What is the natural frequency of the structure? First.As an example.5 The natural frequencies we have computed so far are the undamped natural frequencies that assume that there is no structural damping.08 D/2 D D .13 WIND Rectangular section (2:1 ratio).20 D Square section. Circular section. St = 0. a cantilever has a length of 4m and a flexural rigidity (EI) of 6. such as simply supported beams and frame buildings. 1 3 x 6. 1200 = 362.200 kg distributed self mass) me = 500 . St = 0. When n = no significant oscillation of the structure may occur.75x107 kNmm2.200kg.76 Hz 2π 362. (2/4)3 + ¼ . The methods we have looked at here may be applied to more complex structures. these shall not be covered in this introductory note. However. The frequency of such excitation is given by n= St U D where St is the Strouhal number for the structure.

If the structure has a damping ratio (ζ) of 4% (=0. A security camera system weighing 10kg is to be attached to the free end of the cantilever. (b) 0. Calculate (a) the natural frequency of the lighting column (b) the critical wind speed for the onset of vortex-shedding induced vibrations Take the density of steel ρ = 7850 kg/m3 and the modulus of elasticity E = 205 x109 N/m2.56 m/s. calculate. The mass of the structure is 5000 kg and is concentrated on the beam that is assumed to be rigid.7 Hz.5 kg.502 Hz.89 Hz for the natural frequency] (2) A 2m long circular section aluminium member of 80 mm outside diameter and a wall thickness of 3 mm is attached to the wall of a building so that it projects outwards horizontally. To solve this problem you will need to look at a structures text book or use elementary bending theory to find the forces corresponding to a unit lateral displacement for rigid end members with zero rotation at the top and bottom. The two columns are assumed to be mass-less and each has a flexural stiffness (EI) of 4.000 kg L= 3m Deflected shape when oscillating . with the same parameters as in this question.9x109 N/m2.28 m/s] (3) The structural frame shown below is rigid jointed and fixed to its supports.6 m/s. Calculate (a) the natural frequency of the cantilever alone (b) the critical wind speed for the onset of vortex-shedding induced vibrations (c) the same parameters in (a) and (b) after the camera has been installed Take the density of aluminium ρ = 2720 kg/m3 and modulus of elasticity E = 68. (c) 5. 2.Questions (1) A lighting column is 12 m high (H) and constructed from hollow circular steel tube of 140 mm outside diameter with a wall thickness of 3mm. (b) 7. by Dr Roger Hoxey at the Silsoe Research Institute in the UK produced a value of 0. [Answers: (a) 4.5x106 Nm2. The lamp at the top has a mass of 7. (a) the undamped natural frequency and (b) the damped natural frequency.498 Hz] m = 5.9 Hz.85 Hz.04). It is interesting to note that actual measurements on a full-scale lighting column under the action of the wind. This will give the bending stiffness for using in the natural frequency equation. To compute the damped natural frequency please look at the equation on page 2 of the lecture class notes. [Answers: (a) 18. (b) 4. [Answers: (a) 0.

Calculate the natural frequency of the bridge deck by first computing the equivalent centre-mass. [Answer: 3. From a structures text book we can find the expression for the deflection (δ) under a load (F) which is F x 2 (L − x)2 F 3EIL δ= ⇒ k= = 2 3EIL δ x (L − x)2 To obtain the central stiffness for me the distance x is made equal to ½L in this expression that gives the well known value of 48EI/L3. in the same way as we did for the cantilever. Now try this question. But what do we do for simply supported beam structures. A loading test has been carried out by the site engineer that gives a central deflection of 3 mm when a load of 10 kN is applied at that point.95Hz] .(4) So far we have focused on cantilever and tower structures. m1 x me L/2 L/2 We need to know the stiffness of the beam when loaded by a point mass m1 a distance x from one of the supports. instead of trying to find an equivalent end mass for the distributed self-mass of the beam. we try to obtain an equivalent centre mass (me). The natural frequencies for the two masses must be the same and so using our basic natural frequency equation. for example? We apply the same kind of analysis as for the cantilever except that. like bridge decks. A small simply supported highway bridge deck with a total mass of 7 t carries a piece of construction plant (mass=3 t) at its quarter point. we can equate so that 3EIL 48 E I = 3 x 2 (L − x ) 2 m1 L m e 16 x 2 (L − x) 2 me = m1 L4 To calculate the equivalent centre-mass corresponding to a uniformly distributed mass of m (kg) per metre length we integrate along the span. as before me = ∫ L 0 16 x 2 (L − x )2 8mL m dx = 4 L 15 This is about half of the self-mass of the beam.

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