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Published in Mechanical Systems and Signal Processing 23 (2009) 1112-1122

Designing structures for dynamical properties via natural frequencies separation.
Application to tensegrity structures design

Cornel Sultan
Aerospace and Ocean Engineering, Randolph Hall 215,
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg VA 24061, USA
csultan@vt.edu, Phone: 1-540-231-0047, Fax: 1-540-231-9632
Abstract
The design of structures for dynamic properties is addressed by placing conditions on the separation between natural
frequencies. Additional constraints, like lower and upper bounds on the natural frequencies, are also included. A fast
numerical algorithm that exploits the mathematical structure of the resulting problem is developed. Examples of the
algorithm’s application to tensegrity structures design are presented and the connection between natural frequencies
separation and proportional damping approximation is analyzed.
Keywords: dynamic design; natural frequencies separation; proportional damping approximation; tensegrity
structures

1. Introduction
Structures design using numerical methods has been initiated by Dorn [1] (see [2,3] for
detailed reviews) and most of the research has been focused on static requirements satisfaction
(e.g. constraints on displacement, stress, strain in equilibrium conditions). A limited number of
articles deal with dynamic requirements (see [4-7] and the references therein). There are two
major reasons for the limited interest in designing structures for dynamic properties. Firstly,
structures were traditionally designed for static operating conditions (arches, bridges, domes).
Secondly, because many classical structures are heavily damped, the dynamic transitory regime
decays rapidly and it is not considered important. However, with the advent of new technologies
in the area of controllable structures like morphing structures [8], adaptive buildings [9], flexible
manipulators [10], these facts will no longer hold true. Firstly, controllable structures will
operate in conditions for which the dynamic regime will play an important role in their design.
Secondly, for these applications, lightly damped structures will be preferred in order to dissipate
less energy and make their shape control cost effective and efficient.
This article approaches the design of structures from the dynamic perspective. The main
design requirement is represented by the natural frequencies location. Placing restrictions on the
natural frequencies is justified because of their importance in structures dynamics. Firstly, these
frequencies are crucial for dynamic response characteristics like the rise time, peak time, and
settling time [11]. Secondly, in many cases, separation between natural frequencies is crucial in
enabling accurate proportional damping approximation [12]. Thirdly, as remarked in [4], the
amount of degeneration in structures is reduced if constraints on the natural frequencies are
imposed.
A fast algorithm is presented which guarantees prescribed separation between natural
frequencies. The algorithm also considers constraints on the minimum and maximum natural
frequencies values. The algorithm is fast because it exploits the structure of the mass and
stiffness matrices, which are linear in the design parameters, employs active set methods in order


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to reduce the number of computations, and the gradients used in the solution process are
analytically computed. Examples of the algorithm’s application to the dynamic design of
tensegrity structures are given. Analysis of the correlation between natural frequencies and
proportional damping approximation confirms the assertion that separation between natural
frequencies might be a misleading criterion for accurate approximation.

2. Dynamics
2.1. Physical and modal systems
The linearized dynamics of many structural systems is described by
0 , 0 , 0 , > > > = + + K C M f Kq q C q M    (1)
where M, C, K are the mass, damping, stiffness matrices, respectively, q is the n-dimensional
vector of generalized coordinates, and f is the vector of external loads, respectively. A
transformation from the “physical” (q) to the “modal” (q
m
) coordinates is performed using the
modal matrix, U, which is constructed as follows:
0 . , , > = A = A = diag I U U U U M
M
T
M M
T
M M M

0 . , ,
2
1 1
> = O = O = A A
÷ ÷
diag I U U U U KU U
T
K K
T
K K M M
T
M M

K M M
U U U
1 ÷
A = . (2)
Using
m
Uq q = in modal coordinates (1) becomes
f U q q C q
T
m m m m
= O + +
2
   (3)
where CU U C
T
m
= , ) ( diag
2 2
l
e = O , and
l
e are the natural frequencies obtained by solving
0 ) det(
2
= ÷ M K
l
e . (4)
Because natural frequencies are crucial in the dynamic response, dynamic design problems
usually include constraints on their values [4]. The first condition imposed here is that the natural
frequencies are separated. There are several reasons for which this is considered an important
requirement as discussed next.

2.2. Natural frequencies separation and proportional damping approximation
System (1) is proportionally damped if
m
C is diagonal. There are big benefits if
m
C is
diagonal. For example, the equations of motion (3) decouple and they can be easily solved. This
is very important, because the number of equations used in structures dynamics, n, is usually
large. Proportional damping models are also desired because they lend themselves easily to
computationally efficient identification, model order reduction, and control design tools [12].
A general form of the damping matrix, which results in a diagonal modal damping matrix, is


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¿
÷
=
÷
=
1
0
1
) (
n
i
i
i
K M M a C (5)
where
i
a

are real numbers [13]. Expression (5) is a generalization of the Rayleigh damping
model, in which the damping matrix is a linear combination of the mass and stiffness matrices.
One can easily verify that if U simultaneously diagonalizes M and K it also diagonalizes C of (5).
If
m
C is not diagonal it is desired to determine under what conditions it can be
approximated by a diagonal matrix, i.e. when proportional damping approximation is possible.
The most popular approach to obtain such an approximation is to reduce the modal damping
matrix to a diagonal one by neglecting its off diagonal terms (see [12]), thus writing
). (
m p
C Diag C = (6)
The proportional and non-proportional damping models are then
f U q q C q
T
p p p p
= O + +
2
   and (7)
0 ) ( , where , ) (
2
= ÷ = = O + + +
n p m n
T
m m n p m
C Diag C C C f U q q C C q    , (8)
respectively.
In order to determine when accurate proportional damping approximation is possible,
various non-proportionality indices involving the modal damping matrix, natural frequencies,
and external excitations have been proposed. For example Tong et al. [14] proposed a measure of
damping non-proportionality based only on the damping matrix. Shahruz [15] showed through
an example that this measure is insufficient and indicated that the distribution of the system’s
natural frequencies must be taken into account. Gawronski [12] and Gawronski and Sawicki [16]
showed that neglecting the off diagonal terms in the modal damping matrix yields good results in
terms of the relative error, which is negligible if the natural frequencies are sufficiently separated
and the damping is small. Adhikari [17] introduced a non-proportionality index based on the
normal modes of the system and not on the system matrices. He shows that for viscously damped
systems with small damping this index is inversely proportional to the separation between
natural frequencies, thus clustered natural frequencies should be avoided because they lead to
large values of the index. In [18] a measure of non-proportional damping which only depends on
the matrix of complex eigenvectors, and it is independent of the natural frequencies, has been
proposed. Over the years it has become generally accepted that sufficient separation of the
natural frequencies is crucial for accurate proportional damping approximation. However, when
the structure is subjected to harmonic excitation, this condition might not be sufficient, as
discussed next.
Park et al. [19] showed that if the input, f, is harmonic, the error between the response of
the system and the response of its proportional damping approximation depends strongly on the
excitation frequency and may be significant for excitation frequencies which are close to the
natural ones. Shahruz and Packard [20] showed that if the system is lightly damped and the
excitation frequency is close to some of the lightly damped natural frequencies, the error might
be big even if the off-diagonal terms of the modal damping matrix,
m
C , are small. However, if
the corresponding proportionally damped system is reasonably damped and the off-diagonal
terms of
m
C are small, then the error is small [21]. Park et al. [22] gave several examples which


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show that, in the case of external harmonic input, neither the diagonal dominance of the modal
damping matrix nor the separation between natural frequencies is sufficient for accurate
proportional damping approximation; the location of the excitation frequency with respect to the
natural frequencies is an important factor in the error. Moreover, the approximation error
increases substantially when there are natural frequencies which are clustered and the excitation
frequency is close to these clustered natural frequencies (see also [23]).
It is remarkable that so far the discussion focused on accurate proportional damping
approximation in modal coordinates. Even more remarkable is the fact that accurate
approximation in the modal space is not sufficient for accurate approximation in the physical
space (see [24]). The following lemma connects the errors in modal and physical coordinates.
Lemma: The error in the physical space is smaller than the error in the modal space if
and only if the minimum eigenvalue of the mass matrix, ) (M ì , is greater than one.
Proof: Let ) (t
m
c and ) (t c denote the error in the modal and physical space, respectively:
) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( t U t t U t t q t q t
m m p m m
c o c c c c s ¬ = ¬ ÷ = (9)
where . is the Euclidean norm and ) (U o the maximum singular value of U. Since the upper
bound in Eq. (9) is tight, ) ( ) ( t t
m
c c s is equivalent to 1 ) ( s U o . From Eq. (2)
K M M
U U U
1 ÷
A = and, since
M
U and
K
U are unitary,
2 / 1
) ( ) (
÷
= M U ì o . Thus 1 ) ( s U o

is
equivalent to 1 ) ( > M ì .

2.3. Natural frequencies separation and computational efficiency and accuracy
From the computational point of view, it is also advantageous to have separated natural
frequencies. Firstly, the sensitivities of repeated natural frequencies and of the associated
eigenvectors with respect to various parameters are difficult to compute, both analytically and
numerically [25]. Secondly, in the case of repeated natural frequencies numerical computations
might lead to unacceptable accumulation and propagation of numerical errors.
On the other hand, if the natural frequencies are adequately separated, the likelihood of
having repeated eigenvalues in the corresponding first order linear modal system,
, , ,
0
,
0
,
2
f u
q
q
x
U
B
C
I
A Bu Ax x
m
m
T
m
=
(
¸
(

¸

=
(
¸
(

¸

=
(
¸
(

¸

÷ O ÷
= + =

 (10)
is reduced. This is important because, if A has repeated eigenvalues it may be defective, hence
not diagonalizable, and the response of Eq. (10) may include secular terms. This is definitely not
desirable. Note that in the proportional damping case, A is diagonalizable and secular terms do
not appear, even if there are repeated natural frequencies (see Appendix A). In general, defective
systems represent exceptions and have been rarely reported in practical structures.


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3. The natural frequencies allocation problem
3.1. Problem formulation
As indicated before, a crucial dynamic design requirement for structures should be
sufficient separation between the natural frequencies. This requirement can be enforced in two
ways: through “equality constraints”, when all natural frequencies are prescribed fixed values to
achieve adequate separation, or through “inequality constraints”, when only lower bounds on the
separations are enforced via inequalities. These two options are discussed next.
The “equality constraints” category can be embedded in the larger class of “ideal
dynamic designs”, when the natural frequencies and the corresponding eigenvectors are
specified. Research conducted in this area indicated two major deficiencies. Firstly, solutions to
this problem, usually called the inverse spectral problem, require considerable freedom in the
structure of M, C, K, and, secondly, the solutions are restrictive with respect to the specification
of the modal data [5-7]. For example in [26], the inverse spectral problem was solved only for
lumped conservative systems (i.e. C=0) modeled using tri-diagonal matrices. Likewise, in [5] the
inverse spectral problem was solved when C and K are singular but the solution restricts the
eigenvalues to having complex values and does not even preserve the eigenvectors. The
interested reader may consult [7] for a review of results in the area.
A less constrained approach is to require that only the natural frequencies are allocated to
desired locations. In practice even this approach is not usually possible, because the design space
is limited [4]. In many cases the mass, damping, and stiffness matrices are linear combinations of
inertial, damping, and elastic characteristics of the individual elements (e.g. bars, dampers,
springs), and can be written in terms of free scalar design parameters 0 , 0 , 0 > > >
i i i
k c m

as
. , ,
1
0
1
0
1
0 ¿ ¿ ¿
= = =
+ = + = + =
E
i
i i
D
i
i i
I
i
i i
K k K K C c C C M m M M (11)
Here I, D, and E are the numbers of free design parameters and, in general, are small, because
many characteristics are fixed by other considerations (e.g. specifications on the materials). In
Eq. (11), matrices M
0
, C
0
, K
0
account for the fixed parameters.
In this article, the exact placement requirement is relaxed and prescribed separations,
lj
e ,
between natural frequencies are enforced through inequality constraints:
n l j n l
lj j l
,..., 1 , 1 ,..., 1 , + = ÷ = > ÷ e e e . (12)
Additional constraints on the natural frequencies are included:
n l
l
,..., 1 ,
max min
= < < e e e (13)
where
min
e and
max
e are such that
¿
> ÷
j l
lj
,
min max
e e e . These constraints can be easily justified
for controllable structures as follows. The structure should be designed to an upper bound on the
maximum natural frequency, because it is desired that the high frequency modes are measurable


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and the structural sensing devices sampling rate, which must be at least twice the structure’s
maximum natural frequency, is limited (see [27]). The minimum natural frequency is lower
bounded in order to avoid slow modes. Low values of natural frequencies also correspond to a
“soft” (not sufficiently stiff) structure, which is not desirable.
To complete the problem formulation, limits on the design parameters are included:

E i k k k I i m m m
i i i i i i
,..., 1 , , ,..., 1 ,
max min max min
= < < = < < . (14)
Thus, the problem of interest is to find
i i
k m , subject to Eqs. (12) - (14).
The major advantage this “inequality constraints” approach has is that it guarantees
increased flexibility in the design process. The exact placement problem might not have any
solution, whereas the inequality constraints problem might have many solutions. This fact
facilitates the incorporation of the inequality constraints approach in more complex design
problems which include static constraints on stress, strain, displacement and optimization
requirements like the minimization of the structure’s mass.
The main disadvantage of this approach is that it leads to a nonlinear problem with
inequality constraints for which closed form solutions are not possible. However, an efficient
algorithm has been designed which exploits the mathematical structure of the problem. This
algorithm is described next.

3.2. An iterative solution algorithm
The algorithm proposed herein to solve Eqs. (12-14) is inspired by active set methods.
The idea underlying these methods is to partition inequality constraints into two groups: those
that are to be treated as active and those that are to be treated as inactive. The constraints treated
as inactive are ignored, decreasing the number of computations. This is especially useful for
problems with a large number of constraints, like structural design ones (see [28]).
The algorithm proceeds as follows: at the current iteration step, for a known value of the
vector of design parameters, called x, the natural frequencies are computed by solving Eq. (4)
and ordered:
n
e e e s s s ...
2 1
. Satisfaction of constraints (12-14) is evaluated. The constraints
which are violated are chosen as the active ones and a penalty function, P(x), is built:
), ( ) ( ) ( ) ( x P x P x P x P
b bx s e e
+ + = (15)
where
. ) (
2
1
) (
2
1
) (
, ) (
2
1
) (
2
1
) ( , ) (
2
1
) (
2
max
2
min
2
max
2
min
2
1 1
¿ ¿
¿ ¿ ¿
÷ + ÷ =
÷ + ÷ = ÷ ÷ =
+ +
l
l l
l
l l bx
l
l
l
l b
l
l l l l s
x x x x x P
x P x P e e e e e e e
e e
(16)
Here P
se
(x) is associated with the separation constraints (12), P
be
(x) with the constraints on the
boundaries of e, Eq. (13), and P
bx
(x) with the constraints on the boundaries of x, Eq. (14). In all
these sums, only the violating pairs appear. For example, in P
se
(x), only the indices l for


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which
l l l l 1 1 + +
s ÷ e e e are considered. This particular choice of a quadratic penalty function is
advantageous because it leads to “convexification” of the problem, thus facilitating the use of
gradient or Newton based iterative procedures for fast convergence (see [28] for more details).
Next, the penalty function is driven to zero using a gradient method. The advantage of
using gradients is that, for this problem, they can be easily computed. Indeed:
) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( x P x P x P x P
b bx s e e
V + V + V = V
(17)
where
¿ ¿
V ÷ + V ÷ = V
l
l l l
l
l l l b
x P e e e e e e
e
) ( ) ( ) (
max min
(18)
¿
V ÷ V ÷ ÷ = V
+ + +
l
l l l l l l s
x P ) )( ( ) (
1 1 1
e e e e e
e
(19)
. ) ( ) ( ) (
max min ¿ ¿
÷ + ÷ = V
l
l l l
l
l l l bx
e x x e x x x P (20)
Here e
l
is a vector with the l component equal to 1 and all the other components equal to 0.
The gradient of
l
e

is
T
w
l l l
l
x x x
(
¸
(

¸

c
c
c
c
c
c
= V
e e e
e ...
2 1
(21)
where w=I+E is the dimension of x. If
l
e is single,
j
l
x c
ce
can be easily computed using
( )
l
j
l
j
l
l
j
l
j
T
l
j
l
x x x
M
x
K
x
e
e e
¢ e ¢
e
2 /
2
2
2
c
c
=
c
c
¬
(
(
¸
(

¸

c
c
÷
c
c
=
c
c
(22)
where
l
¢ is the corresponding mass-normalized eigenvector: I M
l
T
l
= ¢ ¢ . Using Eq. (11) the
following formulas are obtained:
¦
¹
¦
´
¦
= ÷
=
=
c
c
. ,
,
2
2
j j l j
T
l l
j j l j
T
l
j
l
m x if M
k x if K
x
¢ ¢ e
¢ ¢
e
(23)
Note that zero natural frequencies cannot appear because of the condition that K > 0 (see Eq.
(1)). In the case of repeated natural frequencies, complex formulas have been derived for the
computation of
j
l
x c
ce
(see [25]), but complicated formulas are not necessary here because the
solution will be such that there are no repeated natural frequencies. Thus, if
l
e is not single, the
corresponding value of x will be randomly perturbed by a small amount.
Next, a line search method is used, in which a change in x is made along 0 = V = P g ,
, g x x o + =
+
(24)


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and the resulting equation in one variable P(x
+
)=P(o)=0 is linearly approximated and solved
with respect to o. At the next step, the penalty function is updated based on the current violating
constraints. Iterations are performed until convergence is obtained (constraints are not violated),
the number of iterations allowed is exceeded, or the norm of the variation in x between two
consecutive steps is smaller than a prescribed tolerance.
There are two major advantages associated with the proposed algorithm. Firstly, at each
step the number of constraints taken into account is reduced to the critical ones. Secondly, at
each step the gradients are analytically computed using Eqs. (17-23) and not numerically
approximated. The result is a fast algorithm which has proven very effective in applications.
One possible issue with this algorithm is that it might lead to zig-zagg motions due to
changes in the set of violating constraints. However, this set is expected to stabilize in the
neighborhood of the solution, and the zig-zag motions will disappear. Also observe that at the
solution some of the constraints (but not all) might be tight, due to the quadratic penalty function.
Lastly, note that normalization of the quantities involved can be performed, as it is
customary for improved numerical accuracy. In the interest of clarity normalization is ignored in
the presentation of the algorithm. Actually, it can be easily ascertained that the algebraic
operations associated with normalization do not affect the main characteristics of the algorithm
because the gradients are still analytically computed.
The algorithm is described next; | |
T
E I
k k m m x ... ...
1 1
=

is the vector of design parameters.
Description of the Algorithm

1. Initialization: Select the initial values of the design parameters,
0
x x = .
2. Constraints evaluation: Solve 0 ) det(
2
= ÷ M K
l
e for
l
e where
¿
=
+ =
I
i
i i
M m M M
1
0
,
¿
=
+ =
E
i
i i
K k K K
1
0
and evaluate Eqs. (12-14). If these constraints are not violated, exit.
3. Calculation of the direction of movement, g: If there are no repeated eigenvalues,
l
e ,
compute the gradient of the penalty function ) (x P g V = using Eqs. (17-23). If there are
repeated eigenvalues or 0 = g slightly perturb x randomly and return to step 2.
4. Prediction: Predict g x x o + =
+
, where
2
) (
g
P
x
÷ = o , with ) (x P given by Eq. (15) where
only the violating constraints are considered.
5. Return: If x g o o < || || , where x o is the minimum allowed variation of x, or the number of
iterations is greater than the maximum allowed, exit, else set
+
= x x and return to step 2.
The process terminates when all natural frequencies are sufficiently separated (step 2), the
variation in x is too small, or the number of iterations allowed is exceeded (step 5).
The algorithm can be easily extended to include an upper bound constraint on the
maximum singular value of the modal matrix,
max
) ( o o s U , since the gradient of this constraint


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can also be computed analytically. The penalty function just has to be modified accordingly.
Some of the examples shown next will include this constraint.

4. Examples: tensegrity structures design
4.1. Tensegrity structures description
Tensegrity structures are assemblies of “soft” elements which can carry only tensile
forces (e.g. elastic cables), and “hard” (e.g. rigid bodies), and which are capable of yielding
equilibrium configurations under no external forces and torques and with all soft members in
tension. These configurations are called “prestressable configurations” [29]. Tensegrity
structures feasibility in controllable structures applications has been demonstrated [30-33]. In the
following, the previous algorithm will be applied to a tensegrity structure.
Consider a tensegrity structure composed of six bars, labeled A
ij
B
ij
, a top (B
12
B
22
B
32
), a
base (A
11
A
21
A
31
), and 18 tendons (Fig. 1). For mathematical modeling the tendons are
considered massless, viscoelastic Voigt elements, which consist of a linear elastic spring in
parallel with a linear viscous damper. The base is fixed and the top and the bars are rigid. The
bars are axially symmetric. For each bar the rotational degree of freedom around the longitudinal
axis of symmetry is ignored. No external forces act on the structure (see [29] for details).

Fig. 1. Tensegrity structure.
Linearized dynamics models around certain equilibria called “symmetrical prestressable
configurations” (see [29] for details on these configurations), have been derived. If the bars are
identical and the tendons have the same damping coefficients matrices M, C, K are given by
6 4
1 1 0
1 1
, ,
i i i i
i i
M mM C c C K K k K
= =
= = = +
¿ ¿
(25)
where m
1
represents the mass of the top, m
2-4
its principal moments of inertia, m
5,6
the mass and
longitudinal moment of inertia of a bar, k
1-3
the stiffness of three classes of tendons called “S”
(A
i2
B
j1
), “V” (A
i1
B
j1
and B
i2
A
j2
), “D” (A
i1
A
j2
and B
i2
B
j1
), k
4
the pretension coefficient (see [29]


10
for details), and c
1
the damping coefficient for all tendons. These will be the design parameters.
The symmetrical prestressable configuration analyzed here is characterized by
1, 0.67, 0.75, 60 l b H o o
°
= = = = = (26)
where l is the length of a bar, b the length of the side of the base and top equilateral triangles, H
the height of the structure (all in meters), o the angle made by each bar with the vertical
symmetry axis (OO
t
) and o the angle made by the projection of A
11
B
11
on the horizontal plane
(A
11
A
21
A
31
) with the fixed direction
1
ˆ
b . The corresponding matrices M
i
, C
1
, K
i
, which depend
only on l, b,o , ando , have been computed using the general formulas presented in [34].

4.2. Natural frequencies separation and proportional damping approximation
Consider the following ad-hoc values for the design parameters (the “arbitrary” design):
. 1 , 1 , 1 , 5 , 4 , 3 , 1 , 1
1 6 5 4 3 2 1 4 1
= = = = = = = =
÷
c m m m m m m k (27)
All quantities are given in SI units. The natural frequencies distribution, shown in Fig. 2,
indicates regions in which these frequencies are clustered: for 8 pairs of neighboring natural
frequencies the separation is less than 0.02. This is not a good dynamic design. For example if
the responses to initial conditions of the proportionally and non-proportionally damped models -
(7) and (8) with f=0 - are computed, the approximation error is unacceptably large. Fig. 2 shows
the Euclidean norms of the modal, ) (t
m
c , and physical, ) (t c , error, for unity initial conditions:
1
0 0 0 0
= = = =
p p m m
q q q q   . Hence proportional damping approximation cannot be used. Redesign
of the structure to achieve separation of the natural frequencies must be pursued.
The algorithm presented before has been applied for various prescribed separations,
lj
e ,
to solve (12)-(14). In some cases an upper bound constraint on the singular value norm of the
modal matrix,
max
) ( o o s U , has also been considered, as indicated next. In all cases only lower
bounds on the design parameters were enforced: l x
l
¬ = , 0
min
. Convergence of the algorithm,
implemented in Matlab, was very fast (miliseconds to seconds on a standard desktop computer).
Fig. 3 shows the results obtained for 2 . 0 =
lj
e , 10 , 8 . 0
max min
= = e e (rad/s), and a “hard
constraint” on the maximum singular value of the modal matrix: 15 . 0 ) ( s U o . Analysis of
responses to initial conditions confirms that the proportional damping approximation can be
applied. Fig. 3 gives the errors for 1
0 0 0 0
= = = =
p p m m
q q q q  

(similar patterns were observed for
other initial conditions) and shows that transformation in the physical space dramatically reduces
the error due to the hard constraint on the modal matrix norm, whose final value is 12 . 0 ) ( = U o .


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Fig. 2. Natural frequencies distribution and initial conditions response errors
for the “arbitrary” design

Fig. 3. Natural frequencies distribution and initial conditions response errors
for the “hard modal constraint design” ( 12 . 0 ) ( = U o , 0.2
lj
e = )


12

Fig. 4. Natural frequencies distribution and initial conditions response errors
for the “soft modal constraint design” ( 8 . 0 ) ( = U o , 0.2
lj
e = )
Fig. 4 corresponds to a design obtained for 2 . 0 =
lj
e , 18 , 8 . 0
max min
= = e e and a “soft
constraint” on the modal matrix norm: 8 . 0 ) ( s U o . The error norms, shown in Fig.4 for
1
0 0 0 0
= = = =
p p m m
q q q q   , increase and the modal and physical errors are noticeable closer
because of the “soft” constraint. Similar results were obtained for other initial conditions. The
design is still good and proportional damping approximation can be used.
The next set of results reveals very interesting features. Firstly, even if the prescribed
separation is increased it may so happen that the results are worse than the ones obtained for a
smaller separation. Fig. 5 corresponds to such a design, in which 4 . 0 =
lj
e , 18 , 2
max min
= = e e
and the constraint on ) (U o was eliminated. It can be easily ascertained that the natural
frequencies range is similar to the one in Fig. 4, but the error in modal coordinates is much
larger, even though the minimum separation between natural frequencies doubled (the initial
conditions considered in Fig. 5 are the same as before). Secondly, because the constraint on
) (U o has been removed, the error in the physical space is hugely amplified (the maximum
singular value of the modal matrix is 55 . 1 ) ( = U o ). This is not a good design if proportional
damping approximation is thought after. However it is a good dynamic design for other purposes
because, for example, sufficient separation between the natural frequencies is achieved.


13

Fig. 5. Natural frequencies distribution and initial conditions response errors
for the “no modal constraint design” ( 55 . 1 ) ( = U o , 0.4
lj
e = )

Fig. 6. Natural frequencies distribution and initial conditions response errors
for the “no modal constraint design” with small damping (c
1
=0.1)


14
These results indicate that separation between natural frequencies may not be sufficient
for accurate proportional damping approximation. They complement similar results obtained
when harmonic excitations, rather than nonzero initial conditions, were considered (see [19-24]).
Another interesting result is obtained if the damping is substantially reduced. Fig. 6
corresponds to the same design as before (i.e. same design parameters) but when c
1
=0.1 (a “very
lightly damped structure”). It is remarkable that the errors are substantially smaller. This is in
agreement with Gawronski’s [12] observation, that for lightly damped structures separation of
natural frequencies is sufficient for accurate proportional damping approximation in modal space.
Nevertheless, the constraint on the modal matrix should be introduced in the design for accurate
approximation in the physical space.
The design parameters associated with Figs. 2-6 are given in Table 1. All the results
presented in this article correspond to situations in which the algorithm converged to solutions at
which some of the separation constraints (12) are tight hence the minimum prescribed separation
is achieved. Except for the solution corresponding to Fig. 4, when the modal matrix norm
constraint was also tight ( 8 . 0 ) ( = U o ), none of the other constraints were tight.
k
1
k
2
k
3
k
4
m
1
m
2
m
3
m
4
m
5
m
6
c
1

lj
e

Fig.
1 1 1 1 1 3 4 5 1 1 1 0.0 2
640.40 747.40 2055.5 1974.4 706.5 63 320.3 258.3 7.2 104.6 1 0.2 3
104.41 88.86 0.23 127.88 48.04 1.61 23.45 22.08 0.49 1.77 1 0.2 4
13.14 31.45 51.85 42.77 1.43 0.36 1.11 1 0.65 0.49 1 0.4 5
13.14 31.45 51.85 42.77 1.43 0.36 1.11 1 0.65 0.49 0.1 0.4 6
Table 1. Design parameters values for Figs. 2-6.
These results indicate that if proportional damping approximation is the main goal of the
design, one should not count on obtaining increasingly accurate approximations just by
increasing the separation between natural frequencies. This is due to the fact that the approximation
error’s dependence on the natural frequencies separation is nonlinear. Also other factors, except for the
natural frequencies, like the modal damping matrix, play a role in the approximation error.
A better approach to the design of structures for proportional damping approximation is
to consider design requirements directly related to the approximation error like properties of the
transfer matrices between the initial conditions or the inputs and the approximation error. These
matrices can be easily obtained using the Laplace transform. For nonzero initial conditions,
0
0 0
= =
p m
q q

and 0
0 0
= =
p m
q q   , and non-zero external input, f(t), Eqs. (7) and (8) yield
2 2
0 0 0
( ) ( ( ) ) ( ) ( )
T
m m m m m m m
s q s sq q C sq s q q s U f s ÷ ÷ + ÷ + O =  (28)
2 2
0
( ) ( ) ( ( ) ) ( ) 0
m p m n m m m
s s C s s C sq s q s c c c + + ÷ +O = (29)
where e j s = . From Eqs. (28) and (29), it easily follows that


15
2
0 0
1
( ) ( ) ( )
T
m m m
s G s U f s q q
s
c
| |
= ÷ ÷ + O
|
\ .

(30)
where
( ) ( ) s s C I s C s C I s s G
m n p
1
2 2
1
2 2
) (
÷ ÷
O + + O + + = . (31)
One approach is to design the structure such that the error norm is minimized when
inputs or initial conditions with certain properties are considered. This is a topic of future
research.

5. Conclusions
For future controllable structures dynamic requirements will play an important role,
hence constraints on their dynamic characteristics should be considered in the design process.
Specifically, constraints on the natural frequencies should be imposed due to these frequencies
influence on the dynamic response. A key dynamic design requirement is that the natural
frequencies are sufficiently separated, which is crucial for simple and exact computations, and
accurate proportional damping approximation. Other requirements, which are especially
important for controllable structures, are that the natural frequencies are lower and upper
bounded. Thus the dynamic design problem formulated in this article includes separation
constraints on the natural frequencies and lower and upper bounds on their values.
A numerical algorithm for the solution of this problem was proposed. The algorithm is
very fast because of two key features: it relies on active set methods and the gradients used in the
iterative solving process are analytically computed. The algorithm can be easily extended to
solve problems which include other constraints whose gradients can be analytically computed; an
upper bound constraint on the maximum singular value of the modal matrix is particularly
important for accurate proportional damping approximation in the physical space. The algorithm
was evaluated on tensegrity structures design and in all cases convergence was obtained very fast
(milliseconds to seconds).
Analysis of the relation between natural frequencies separation and the accuracy of
proportional damping approximation indicated that separation of these frequencies is essential
but it is may be a misleading design criterion. For example the approximation error might
increase when the separation between natural frequencies increases, even when only the response
to nonzero initial conditions is considered. Hence, if the main goal of the design is accurate
proportional damping approximation, a problem which includes constraints directly related to the
approximation error norm should be formulated and solved.

Appendix A: Proportional damping yields non-defective systems.

Consider the case of a diagonal modal damping matrix which can be written as
1 0 ), ( diag , 2 < < = O = =
i i
T
m
Z Z CU U C ç ç . (32)


16
It can be shown using linear algebra that
(
¸
(

¸

O ÷ O ÷
=
Z
I
A
2
0
2
is diagonalizable:
1 2 0.5
0
, , [ ]
0
I I
E AE E Z j I Z
÷
A ( (
= = A = ÷ O+ O ÷
( (
A A A
¸ ¸ ¸ ¸
(33)
where the inverse of E is
(
(
¸
(

¸

A ÷ A A A ÷ A ÷
A ÷ A ÷ A A ÷ A +
=
÷ ÷
÷ ÷
÷
1 1
1 1
1
) ( ) (
) ( ) ( I
E . (34)
The state transition matrix is
2 2 0.5 2 1 2 0.5 2
2 0.5 2 2 2 0.5 2
[cos( ) [ ] sin( )] [ ] sin( )
[ ] sin( ) [cos( ) [ ] sin( )]
At
Z t Z t
Z t Z t
e
e I Z t Z I Z I Z t e I Z I Z t
e I Z I Z t e I Z t Z I Z I Z t
÷ O ÷ ÷ O ÷ ÷
÷ O ÷ ÷ O ÷
=
(
O ÷ + ÷ O ÷ O ÷ O ÷
(
(
÷ O ÷ O ÷ O ÷ ÷ ÷ O ÷
¸ ¸
(35)
and the response of the system does not include secular terms.

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2.to reduce the number of computations. n. respectively. respectively. K  0 (1) where M. is usually large. The first condition imposed here is that the natural frequencies are separated.   diag. 2. and control design tools [12]. U. model order reduction. For example. the equations of motion (3) decouple and they can be easily solved. Natural frequencies separation and proportional damping approximation System (1) is proportionally damped if C m is diagonal. M  0. and f is the vector of external loads. K are the mass. Proportional damping models are also desired because they lend themselves easily to computationally efficient identification. damping. A transformation from the “physical” (q) to the “modal” (qm) coordinates is performed using the modal matrix. Physical and modal systems The linearized dynamics of many structural systems is described by   Mq  Cq  Kq  f . There are big benefits if C m is diagonal. Examples of the algorithm’s application to the dynamic design of tensegrity structures are given.  M  diag . 2. which results in a diagonal modal damping matrix. which is constructed as follows: T T M  U M  M U M .  2  diag ( l2 ) . U M U M  I . and the gradients used in the solution process are analytically computed. and  l are the natural frequencies obtained by solving det( K   l2 M )  0 . U K U K  I .1. A general form of the damping matrix. Dynamics 2. q is the n-dimensional vector of generalized coordinates. This is very important. dynamic design problems usually include constraints on their values [4]. C  0. Using q  Uqm in modal coordinates (1) becomes   qm  C m qm   2 qm  U T f 1 (2) (3) where C m  U T CU . (4) Because natural frequencies are crucial in the dynamic response. is 2 . C. Analysis of the correlation between natural frequencies and proportional damping approximation confirms the assertion that separation between natural frequencies might be a misleading criterion for accurate approximation. because the number of equations used in structures dynamics.  0 T  M U M KU M  M 1 1 T T  U K  2U K .  0 U  UM M UK . stiffness matrices. There are several reasons for which this is considered an important requirement as discussed next.

then the error is small [21]. (7) (8) In order to determine when accurate proportional damping approximation is possible.C   a i M ( M 1 K ) i i 0 n 1 (5) where ai are real numbers [13]. various non-proportionality indices involving the modal damping matrix. If C m is not diagonal it is desired to determine under what conditions it can be approximated by a diagonal matrix. the error between the response of the system and the response of its proportional damping approximation depends strongly on the excitation frequency and may be significant for excitation frequencies which are close to the natural ones. Diag (C n )  0 . which is negligible if the natural frequencies are sufficiently separated and the damping is small. Park et al. Over the years it has become generally accepted that sufficient separation of the natural frequencies is crucial for accurate proportional damping approximation. [19] showed that if the input. However. this condition might not be sufficient. is harmonic. when proportional damping approximation is possible. and external excitations have been proposed. He shows that for viscously damped systems with small damping this index is inversely proportional to the separation between natural frequencies. Shahruz and Packard [20] showed that if the system is lightly damped and the excitation frequency is close to some of the lightly damped natural frequencies. f. C m . Park et al. the error might be big even if the off-diagonal terms of the modal damping matrix. In [18] a measure of non-proportional damping which only depends on the matrix of complex eigenvectors. [14] proposed a measure of damping non-proportionality based only on the damping matrix. Gawronski [12] and Gawronski and Sawicki [16] showed that neglecting the off diagonal terms in the modal damping matrix yields good results in terms of the relative error. if the corresponding proportionally damped system is reasonably damped and the off-diagonal terms of C m are small. natural frequencies. has been proposed. where C n  C m  C p . and it is independent of the natural frequencies. thus clustered natural frequencies should be avoided because they lead to large values of the index. [22] gave several examples which 3 . respectively. For example Tong et al. (6) The proportional and non-proportional damping models are then   q p  C p q p   2 q p  U T f and   q m  (C p  C n )q m   2 q m  U T f . Adhikari [17] introduced a non-proportionality index based on the normal modes of the system and not on the system matrices. in which the damping matrix is a linear combination of the mass and stiffness matrices. as discussed next. thus writing C p  Diag (C m ). One can easily verify that if U simultaneously diagonalizes M and K it also diagonalizes C of (5). The most popular approach to obtain such an approximation is to reduce the modal damping matrix to a diagonal one by neglecting its off diagonal terms (see [12]). However. when the structure is subjected to harmonic excitation.e. Shahruz [15] showed through an example that this measure is insufficient and indicated that the distribution of the system’s natural frequencies must be taken into account. are small. Expression (5) is a generalization of the Rayleigh damping model. i.

neither the diagonal dominance of the modal damping matrix nor the separation between natural frequencies is sufficient for accurate proportional damping approximation. it is also advantageous to have separated natural frequencies. if A has repeated eigenvalues it may be defective.  Cm  q m  U  (10) is reduced. even if there are repeated natural frequencies (see Appendix A). Moreover. 0  x  Ax  Bu. the approximation error increases substantially when there are natural frequencies which are clustered and the excitation frequency is close to these clustered natural frequencies (see also [23]). Proof: Let  m (t ) and  (t ) denote the error in the modal and physical space. Natural frequencies separation and computational efficiency and accuracy From the computational point of view. the sensitivities of repeated natural frequencies and of the associated eigenvectors with respect to various parameters are difficult to compute. both analytically and numerically [25]. It is remarkable that so far the discussion focused on accurate proportional damping approximation in modal coordinates. the likelihood of having repeated eigenvalues in the corresponding first order linear modal system. if the natural frequencies are adequately separated. (9) is tight. This is definitely not desirable. A is diagonalizable and secular terms do not appear. x    . On the other hand.show that. in the case of repeated natural frequencies numerical computations might lead to unacceptable accumulation and propagation of numerical errors.  (U )   ( M ) 1 / 2 . and the response of Eq. hence not diagonalizable. respectively:  m (t )  q m (t )  q p (t )   (t )  U m (t )   (t )   (U )  m (t )  (t )   m (t ) (9) where . 2. Lemma: The error in the physical space is smaller than the error in the modal space if and only if the minimum eigenvalue of the mass matrix. in the case of external harmonic input. Even more remarkable is the fact that accurate approximation in the modal space is not sufficient for accurate approximation in the physical space (see [24]). u  f . (2) U  U M  M U K and.  (M ) . Note that in the proportional damping case. Thus  (U )  1 is equivalent to  ( M )  1 . is greater than one.3. defective systems represent exceptions and have been rarely reported in practical structures. A   2   I  0  q m  . In general. the location of the excitation frequency with respect to the natural frequencies is an important factor in the error. Secondly. This is important because. The following lemma connects the errors in modal and physical coordinates. 4 . (10) may include secular terms. since U M and U K are unitary. Firstly. is the Euclidean norm and  (U ) the maximum singular value of U. From Eq. Since the upper bound in Eq. B   T . 1 is equivalent to  (U )  1 .

D. The “equality constraints” category can be embedded in the larger class of “ideal dynamic designs”. when all natural frequencies are prescribed fixed values to achieve adequate separation.. C=0) modeled using tri-diagonal matrices. between natural frequencies are enforced through inequality constraints:  l   j   lj .. j (13) where  min and  max are such that  max   min    lj . In many cases the mass. and.e. the solutions are restrictive with respect to the specification of the modal data [5-7]. l  1. l  1. specifications on the materials). In practice even this approach is not usually possible. The structure should be designed to an upper bound on the maximum natural frequency. The natural frequencies allocation problem 3.1. Additional constraints on the natural frequencies are included: (12)  min   l   max . ci  0. secondly. k i  0 as M  M 0   mi M i .. bars. In this article. K.  lj . and stiffness matrices are linear combinations of inertial. dampers. n  1. C0.. solutions to this problem. in [5] the inverse spectral problem was solved when C and K are singular but the solution restricts the eigenvalues to having complex values and does not even preserve the eigenvectors. matrices M0. damping.. a crucial dynamic design requirement for structures should be sufficient separation between the natural frequencies.. because many characteristics are fixed by other considerations (e. A less constrained approach is to require that only the natural frequencies are allocated to desired locations. in general.. Likewise. are small. require considerable freedom in the structure of M.g.. Research conducted in this area indicated two major deficiencies. i 1 i 1 i 1 I D E (11) Here I. and elastic characteristics of the individual elements (e. For example in [26]. and E are the numbers of free design parameters and. This requirement can be enforced in two ways: through “equality constraints”. when the natural frequencies and the corresponding eigenvectors are specified. C  C 0   c i C i . j  l  1.g. because the design space is limited [4]. and can be written in terms of free scalar design parameters mi  0. C. Firstly.3. These two options are discussed next. or through “inequality constraints”. (11). K  K 0   k i K i . Problem formulation As indicated before. springs). the exact placement requirement is relaxed and prescribed separations. because it is desired that the high frequency modes are measurable 5 . n l. when only lower bounds on the separations are enforced via inequalities. In Eq.. The interested reader may consult [7] for a review of results in the area. the inverse spectral problem was solved only for lumped conservative systems (i.. damping... These constraints can be easily justified for controllable structures as follows. K0 account for the fixed parameters. usually called the inverse spectral problem. n .

i  1. In all these sums.(14).and the structural sensing devices sampling rate. Satisfaction of constraints (12-14) is evaluated. Eq. (14) 3. 2 l 2 l (16) Here Ps(x) is associated with the separation constraints (12). The minimum natural frequency is lower bounded in order to avoid slow modes. 2 l l l 1 1 Pbx ( x)   ( xl  xl min ) 2   ( xl  xl max ) 2 . Pb(x) with the constraints on the boundaries of . This algorithm is described next.. The algorithm proceeds as follows: at the current iteration step. This is especially useful for problems with a large number of constraints. k i subject to Eqs. (13). like structural design ones (see [28]). However. Thus. and Pbx(x) with the constraints on the boundaries of x. strain. (14). (12-14) is inspired by active set methods. displacement and optimization requirements like the minimization of the structure’s mass. the natural frequencies are computed by solving Eq. Low values of natural frequencies also correspond to a “soft” (not sufficiently stiff) structure. Pb ( x)  2  (l  min ) 2  2  (l  max ) 2 .. E . The major advantage this “inequality constraints” approach has is that it guarantees increased flexibility in the design process. The exact placement problem might not have any solution. limits on the design parameters are included: mi min  mi  mi max . an efficient algorithm has been designed which exploits the mathematical structure of the problem.. The constraints treated as inactive are ignored. decreasing the number of computations. only the indices l for 6 . I . is limited (see [27]). i  1...   n . whereas the inequality constraints problem might have many solutions.2. only the violating pairs appear. An iterative solution algorithm The algorithm proposed herein to solve Eqs. the problem of interest is to find mi . is built: P ( x)  Ps ( x)  Pbx ( x)  Pb ( x). The idea underlying these methods is to partition inequality constraints into two groups: those that are to be treated as active and those that are to be treated as inactive. called x. This fact facilitates the incorporation of the inequality constraints approach in more complex design problems which include static constraints on stress. P(x)... which must be at least twice the structure’s maximum natural frequency. The constraints which are violated are chosen as the active ones and a penalty function. k i min  k i  k i max . which is not desirable. for a known value of the vector of design parameters. To complete the problem formulation. (4) and ordered: 1   2  . For example.. in Ps(x).. where (15) Ps ( x)  1 1 1  (l 1  l  l 1l ) 2 .. The main disadvantage of this approach is that it leads to a nonlinear problem with inequality constraints for which closed form solutions are not possible. Eq. (12) .

thus facilitating the use of gradient or Newton based iterative procedures for fast convergence (see [28] for more details). The advantage of using gradients is that.  K   2  l2 M   l  l  l / 2 l   lT    l2  x j x j x j x j   x j     where  l is the corresponding mass-normalized eigenvector:  lT M l  I . if x j  k j   x j   l2 lT M j  l . but complicated formulas are not necessary here because the computation of x j solution will be such that there are no repeated natural frequencies. (1)). This particular choice of a quadratic penalty function is advantageous because it leads to “convexification” of the problem. (11) the following formulas are obtained: T l2  l K j  l . Next.. if  l is not single. complex formulas have been derived for the  l (see [25]). In the case of repeated natural frequencies. the corresponding value of x will be randomly perturbed by a small amount. the penalty function is driven to zero using a gradient method.  (23) Note that zero natural frequencies cannot appear because of the condition that K > 0 (see Eq. a line search method is used. Next. l  x 2 x w  T (21)  l can be easily computed using x j (22) where w=I+E is the dimension of x. l l Here el is a vector with the l component equal to 1 and all the other components equal to 0. (24) 7 . If  l is single. they can be easily computed.. for this problem. x  x  g . Thus. Indeed: P( x)  Ps ( x)  Pbx ( x)  Pb ( x) where (17) Pb ( x)   ( l   l min ) l  ( l   l max ) l l l (18) (19) (20) Ps ( x)   ( l 1   l   l 1l )( l 1   l ) l Pbx ( x)   ( xl  xl min )el  ( xl  xl max )el . if x j  m j . Using Eq.which l 1  l  l 1l are considered. in which a change in x is made along g  P  0 . The gradient of  l is    l   l  x1  l   .

compute the gradient of the penalty function g  P (x) using Eqs. since the gradient of this constraint 8 . P( x ) 4. 2. The algorithm is described next. x  x0 . or the number of iterations is greater than the maximum allowed. The result is a fast algorithm which has proven very effective in applications. Constraints evaluation: Solve det( K   l2 M )  0 for  l where M  M 0   mi M i . If these constraints are not violated. exit. x  m1 . the number of iterations allowed is exceeded. One possible issue with this algorithm is that it might lead to zig-zagg motions due to changes in the set of violating constraints. However. 5. In the interest of clarity normalization is ignored in the presentation of the algorithm. or the number of iterations allowed is exceeded (step 5).. at each step the gradients are analytically computed using Eqs. (12-14). Calculation of the direction of movement. Lastly. exit. Return: If || g || x . it can be easily ascertained that the algebraic operations associated with normalization do not affect the main characteristics of the algorithm because the gradients are still analytically computed. where x is the minimum allowed variation of x. Also observe that at the solution some of the constraints (but not all) might be tight. else set x  x and return to step 2. Iterations are performed until convergence is obtained (constraints are not violated)..  (U )   max . due to the quadratic penalty function. Initialization: Select the initial values of the design parameters. g: If there are no repeated eigenvalues. (15) where g only the violating constraints are considered. the penalty function is updated based on the current violating constraints. the variation in x is too small. or the norm of the variation in x between two consecutive steps is smaller than a prescribed tolerance. and the zig-zag motions will disappear. where    2 .. At the next step. The process terminates when all natural frequencies are sufficiently separated (step 2). at each step the number of constraints taken into account is reduced to the critical ones. Prediction: Predict x  x  g . as it is customary for improved numerical accuracy. Secondly. i 1 E 3. i 1 I K  K 0   k i K i and evaluate Eqs. with P (x ) given by Eq.  l . this set is expected to stabilize in the neighborhood of the solution. Actually..and the resulting equation in one variable P(x+)=P()=0 is linearly approximated and solved with respect to . mI k1 . The algorithm can be easily extended to include an upper bound constraint on the maximum singular value of the modal matrix. There are two major advantages associated with the proposed algorithm. T Description of the Algorithm 1. (17-23) and not numerically approximated. note that normalization of the quantities involved can be performed. If there are repeated eigenvalues or g  0 slightly perturb x randomly and return to step 2. Firstly. (17-23). k E  is the vector of design parameters.

K  K 0   ki K i i 1 i 1 6 4 (25) where m1 represents the mass of the top. Some of the examples shown next will include this constraint. “V” (Ai1Bj1 and Bi2Aj2). elastic cables). These configurations are called “prestressable configurations” [29]. k4 the pretension coefficient (see [29] 9 . The penalty function just has to be modified accordingly. rigid bodies). Tensegrity structures description Tensegrity structures are assemblies of “soft” elements which can carry only tensile forces (e. labeled AijBij. Linearized dynamics models around certain equilibria called “symmetrical prestressable configurations” (see [29] for details on these configurations). m2-4 its principal moments of inertia.g. and 18 tendons (Fig. No external forces act on the structure (see [29] for details). For mathematical modeling the tendons are considered massless. m5. which consist of a linear elastic spring in parallel with a linear viscous damper.g.6 the mass and longitudinal moment of inertia of a bar. have been derived. C  c1C1 . Tensegrity structure. 1). In the following. 4.1. 1. and which are capable of yielding equilibrium configurations under no external forces and torques and with all soft members in tension. C. Tensegrity structures feasibility in controllable structures applications has been demonstrated [30-33]. a base (A11A21A31). If the bars are identical and the tendons have the same damping coefficients matrices M. Fig. and “hard” (e. K are given by M   mi M i . the previous algorithm will be applied to a tensegrity structure. Consider a tensegrity structure composed of six bars. The bars are axially symmetric. Examples: tensegrity structures design 4. k1-3 the stiffness of three classes of tendons called “S” (Ai2Bj1). The base is fixed and the top and the bars are rigid.can also be computed analytically. viscoelastic Voigt elements. “D” (Ai1Aj2 and Bi2Bj1). a top (B12B22B32). For each bar the rotational degree of freedom around the longitudinal axis of symmetry is ignored.

The natural frequencies distribution. and  .8. whose final value is  (U )  0. b the length of the side of the base and top equilateral triangles. indicates regions in which these frequencies are clustered: for 8 pairs of neighboring natural frequencies the separation is less than 0. The corresponding matrices Mi. shown in Fig.  (U )   max . implemented in Matlab.  min  0. b. These will be the design parameters. and physical. 10 .  . Analysis of responses to initial conditions confirms that the proportional damping approximation can be   applied. In some cases an upper bound constraint on the singular value norm of the modal matrix. m2  3. 4. The algorithm presented before has been applied for various prescribed separations. m6  1.for details). C1.     60 (26) where l is the length of a bar.2 . l . Fig. (27) All quantities are given in SI units.02. the approximation error is unacceptably large. In all cases only lower bounds on the design parameters were enforced: xl min  0. The symmetrical prestressable configuration analyzed here is characterized by l  1. m4  5. have been computed using the general formulas presented in [34]. 3 shows the results obtained for  lj  0. Convergence of the algorithm.are computed.15 . m3  4. Hence proportional damping approximation cannot be used. m1  1. and c1 the damping coefficient for all tendons. Natural frequencies separation and proportional damping approximation Consider the following ad-hoc values for the design parameters (the “arbitrary” design): k14  1. b  0. was very fast (miliseconds to seconds on a standard desktop computer).  max  10 (rad/s). 2 shows the Euclidean norms of the modal.67. has also been considered. This is not a good dynamic design. as indicated next. to solve (12)-(14). which depend only on l. For example if the responses to initial conditions of the proportionally and non-proportionally damped models (7) and (8) with f=0 .12 .75. and a “hard constraint” on the maximum singular value of the modal matrix:  (U )  0. Ki. 2. H  0. 3 gives the errors for q m 0  q m 0  q p 0  q p 0  1 (similar patterns were observed for other initial conditions) and shows that transformation in the physical space dramatically reduces the error due to the hard constraint on the modal matrix norm. for unity initial conditions:   q m 0  q m 0  q p 0  q p 0  1 .  the angle made by each bar with the vertical symmetry axis (OOt) and  the angle made by the projection of A11B11 on the horizontal plane ˆ (A11A21A31) with the fixed direction b1 . Fig. H the height of the structure (all in meters).  (t ) .2.  lj . c1  1.  m (t ) . Redesign of the structure to achieve separation of the natural frequencies must be pursued. Fig. error. m5  1.

12 . lj  0. 3.Fig. Natural frequencies distribution and initial conditions response errors for the “hard modal constraint design” (  (U )  0.2 ) 11 . Natural frequencies distribution and initial conditions response errors for the “arbitrary” design Fig. 2.

8 . Fig. in which  lj  0. Similar results were obtained for other initial conditions. even though the minimum separation between natural frequencies doubled (the initial conditions considered in Fig. the error in the physical space is hugely amplified (the maximum singular value of the modal matrix is  (U )  1.  min  0. Natural frequencies distribution and initial conditions response errors for the “soft modal constraint design” (  (U )  0. 4 corresponds to a design obtained for  lj  0. 5 corresponds to such a design. However it is a good dynamic design for other purposes because. even if the prescribed separation is increased it may so happen that the results are worse than the ones obtained for a smaller separation.2 ) Fig. 12 .  min  2.4 for   q m 0  q m 0  q p 0  q p 0  1 .2 . sufficient separation between the natural frequencies is achieved. increase and the modal and physical errors are noticeable closer because of the “soft” constraint. Firstly.  max  18 and a “soft constraint” on the modal matrix norm:  (U )  0. for example. because the constraint on  (U ) has been removed. The error norms. It can be easily ascertained that the natural frequencies range is similar to the one in Fig.8. 5 are the same as before). This is not a good design if proportional damping approximation is thought after.  max  18 and the constraint on  (U ) was eliminated. 4. The next set of results reveals very interesting features. but the error in modal coordinates is much larger.8 . 4. Secondly.Fig.4 . shown in Fig.55 ). lj  0. The design is still good and proportional damping approximation can be used.

1) 13 . 6. 5.4 ) Fig. Natural frequencies distribution and initial conditions response errors for the “no modal constraint design” with small damping (c1=0.55 . Natural frequencies distribution and initial conditions response errors for the “no modal constraint design” (  (U )  1. lj  0.Fig.

Nevertheless.43 1. none of the other constraints were tight.4 0. From Eqs. 0.2 0.45 1. like the modal damping matrix. Another interesting result is obtained if the damping is substantially reduced. f(t). the constraint on the modal matrix should be introduced in the design for accurate approximation in the physical space. k1 k2 k3 k4 m1 m2 m3 m4 m5 m6 c1  lj Fig. Eqs.5 0. These results indicate that if proportional damping approximation is the main goal of the design.61 0.14 1 747.5 48.85 1 1974.23 51.1 (a “very lightly damped structure”).2 0. Also other factors.14 13.8 ). Fig. Design parameters values for Figs.36 4 320. rather than nonzero initial conditions.11 5 258.43 3 63 1. The design parameters associated with Figs.4 2 3 4 5 6 1 640. 4.49 0.40 88.49 0.0 0. and non-zero external input.11 1.3 23.45 1 2055.65 1 104. All the results presented in this article correspond to situations in which the algorithm converged to solutions at which some of the separation constraints (12) are tight hence the minimum prescribed separation is achieved. This is in agreement with Gawronski’s [12] observation. This is due to the fact that the approximation error’s dependence on the natural frequencies separation is nonlinear.4 127.49 1 1 1 1 0.40 104. Except for the solution corresponding to Fig.41 13. one should not count on obtaining increasingly accurate approximations just by increasing the separation between natural frequencies. that for lightly damped structures separation of natural frequencies is sufficient for accurate proportional damping approximation in modal space.08 1 1 1 7. These matrices can be easily obtained using the Laplace transform. 6 corresponds to the same design as before (i. were considered (see [19-24]).e. except for the natural frequencies.77 42. (7) and (8) yield  s 2 qm ( s )  sqm 0  qm 0  Cm ( sqm ( s )  qm 0 )   2 qm ( s )  U T f ( s ) (28) (29) s 2 m ( s)  C p m ( s) s  Cn ( sqm ( s)  qm 0 )  2 m ( s)  0 where s  j . It is remarkable that the errors are substantially smaller. it easily follows that 14 .88 42.36 0.65 0. 2-6 are given in Table 1. 2-6. when the modal matrix norm constraint was also tight (  (U )  0.2 0.04 1.These results indicate that separation between natural frequencies may not be sufficient for accurate proportional damping approximation.45 31.77 1 706.85 51.1 Table 1. play a role in the approximation error. They complement similar results obtained when harmonic excitations.6 1.3 22. (28) and (29). For nonzero initial conditions.86 31. same design parameters) but when c1=0.   q m 0  q p 0  0 and q m 0  q p 0  0 . A better approach to the design of structures for proportional damping approximation is to consider design requirements directly related to the approximation error like properties of the transfer matrices between the initial conditions or the inputs and the approximation error.77 0.

Hence. constraints on the natural frequencies should be imposed due to these frequencies influence on the dynamic response. A numerical algorithm for the solution of this problem was proposed.  m (s)  G(s)  U T f (s)  qm0  2 qm0     1 s  (30) where G ( s)  s 2 I  C p s   2  C n s 2 I  C m s   2  s . Appendix A: Proportional damping yields non-defective systems. are that the natural frequencies are lower and upper bounded. which is crucial for simple and exact computations. hence constraints on their dynamic characteristics should be considered in the design process. even when only the response to nonzero initial conditions is considered. Other requirements. which are especially important for controllable structures. (32) 15 . a problem which includes constraints directly related to the approximation error norm should be formulated and solved. Conclusions For future controllable structures dynamic requirements will play an important role. A key dynamic design requirement is that the natural frequencies are sufficiently separated. Specifically. Thus the dynamic design problem formulated in this article includes separation constraints on the natural frequencies and lower and upper bounds on their values.0   i  1 . The algorithm can be easily extended to solve problems which include other constraints whose gradients can be analytically computed. For example the approximation error might increase when the separation between natural frequencies increases. Consider the case of a diagonal modal damping matrix which can be written as C m  U T CU  2 Z. if the main goal of the design is accurate proportional damping approximation. 1 1 (31) One approach is to design the structure such that the error norm is minimized when inputs or initial conditions with certain properties are considered. The algorithm is very fast because of two key features: it relies on active set methods and the gradients used in the iterative solving process are analytically computed. This is a topic of future research. an upper bound constraint on the maximum singular value of the modal matrix is particularly important for accurate proportional damping approximation in the physical space. and accurate proportional damping approximation. Z  diag ( i ). The algorithm was evaluated on tensegrity structures design and in all cases convergence was obtained very fast (milliseconds to seconds). Analysis of the relation between natural frequencies separation and the accuracy of proportional damping approximation indicated that separation of these frequencies is essential but it is may be a misleading design criterion. 5.

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