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Coulomb damping: Dry Friction

- It arises when bodies slide on dry surface.

- For motion to begin, there must be a force acting upon the body that overcomes
the resistance to motion caused by friction.
- The day friction force is parallel to the surface and proportional to the force
normal to the surface.

- The normal force is equal to

the weight W in the case of
the mass-spring system shown
in Fig.

- The constant of proportionality is the static friction coefficient s , a number

varying between 0 and 1 depending on the surface materials.
- Once the motion is initiated, the force drops to kW , where k id the kinetic
friction coefficient, whose value is generally smaller than that of s .
- Te friction force is opposite in direction to the velocity, and remains constant in
magnitude as long as the force acting on the mass, m, namely , the inertia force
and the restoring force due to the spring, are sufficient to overcome the dry
- When these forces become insufficient, the motion simply stops.

- The equation of motion can be written as

& Fd sgn x& kx 0

mx& (27)

Where Sgn Sign of. It represent a function having value +1 if its argument x&
is positive and the value 1 if its argument is negative.

- Mathematically, the function can be written as

Sgn x& (28)

where Fd the magnitude of the damping force

k (29)

- Equation (27) is nonlinear, but it can be separated into two linear equations, one
for positive and another for negative x& as follows:

& kx Fd
mx& x& 0 (30)
mx&& kx Fd x& 0 (31)
- Equations (30-31) are perhaps non homogeneous (i.e. they can be regarded as
representing forced vibration), however the damping forces are passive (constant)
in nature, so that we can still analyse these equations for free vib.
- The solution of eqns. (30-31) can be obtained for one time interval at a time,
depending on the sign of x&.
- Without loss of generality, we assume that the motion starts from rest with the
mass m in the displaced position x 0 x0 , where x0 is sufficiently large that the
restoring force in the spring exceeds the static friction force.
- Because in the ensuing motion the velocity is negative, we must solve eqn. (31)
first, where the equation can be written in the form

x& n2 x wn2 f d
& (32)

k Fd
with n2 fd
m k

fd represents the equivalent displacement.

1 1
Fd kf d n2 f d
m m

Equation (32) is subjected to the initial conditions x 0 x0 and x& 0 0 , so that solution
is simply

x& 0 n2 x n2 f d x f d
For no motion &
For motion
x t A cos n t B cos n t f d

x 0 x0 x& 0 v0 0

xZ x0
0 A fd
A x0 f d

x& t A sin t Bn cos n t

x& 0 v0 Z 0 Bn


x t x0 f d cos n t f d Answer. (34)

Which represent harmonic oscillation superposed on the average response f d .

- Eqn. (34) is valid for 0 t t1 , where t1 is the time at which the velocity reduces to
zero and the motion is about to reverse direction from left to right.
- Differentiating eqn. (34) with respect to time, we obtain

x& t n x0 f d sin n t (35)

- So that the lowest nontrivial value (i.e. apart from zero) satisfying the condition

x& t1 0 is t1 , at which time the displacement is

x t1 x0 2 f d (36)

- If x t1 is sufficiently large in magnitude to over come the static friction, then the
mass acquires a positive velocity, so that the motion must satisfy the equation

x& n2 x n2 f d
& (37)

Where x t is subjected to the initial conditions

x t1 x0 2 f d and x& t1 0
The solution of eqn. (37) is

x& 0 n2 x n2 f d x f d
For no motion &
For motion
x t A cos n t B sin n t f d

Initial conditions of another half-cycle of motion:

x 0 x t1 x0 2 f d x& 0 x& t1 0

x 0 x0 2 f d A f d A x0 3 f d

x& 0 0 A.sin 0o Bn cos 0o B 0 Answer

x t x0 3 f d cos n t f d (38)

- Compared to eqn (34), the harmonic component in solution (38) has an amplitude
smaller by 2 f d and a negative constant component, namely - f d .
- The solution of eqn. (38) is valid in the time interval t1 t t2 , where t2 is the next
value of time at which the velocity reduces to zero.
- This value is t2 (reference to the time is at t 0 x x0 and x& 0 0 ) at which

time the velocity is ready to reverence direction once again, this time from right to
left. From (38) x t2 x 0 3 f d cos 2 f d x0 4 f d

- The displacement at t t2 is x t2 x0 4 f d

- The procedure can be repeated for t t2 , every time switching back and forth
between eqns. (30) & (31).

- However, a pattern seems to emerge, rendering this task unnecessary .

- Over each half-cycle the motion consists of a constant component and a harmonic
component with frequency equal to the natural frequency n of the simple spring-

mass system, where the duration of each half-cycle is

- The average (constant) value of the solutions alternates between f d and f d , and
at the end of each half-cycle the displacement magnitude is reduced by
2 f d 2 Fd / k

- It follow that in Coulomb damping the decay is linear with time, as opposed to the
exponential decay for viscous damping.

- The motion stops abruptly when the displacement at the end of a given half-cycle
is not sufficiently large for the resorting force in the spring to overcome the
static friction.

- This occurs at the end of the half-cycle for which the amplitude of the harmonic
component is smaller than 2 f d

- Letting n be the number of the half-cycle just prior to the cessation of motion,
we conclude that n is the smallest integer satisfying the in equality

x0 2n 1 f d 2 f d (39)

The plot x t versus t can be obtained by combining solutions (34), (38), etc. Such a plot
is shown in Fig.

A single-degree-freedom system consists of a mass of 25 kg and a spring stiffness of

5000 N/m. The amplitudes of successive cycles are found to be 60, 55, 50, 45, 40, ---
mm. Determine:
(a) the nature and magnitude of the damping force.
(b) the frequency of the damped vibration


(a) Amplitude of the successive cycles are given as 60, 55, 50, 45, 40, --- mm. That is, the
amplitudes of successive cycles diminish by 5 mm or 5 103 m.
The system has coulomb damping. Therefore,

4 N
5 103

or k
N 5 103
5 10 5000 6.25N

4 4

Hence, damping force 6.25 N

(b) The frequency of damped vibration

k 5000
n 14.1421rad/sec
m 25

Example Coulomb damping:


x0 8cm (from equilibrium position)

Td 0.8sec
Reduction in amplitude per cycle 0.4 cm
(i) ? (between block & surface)
(ii) n ? (number of cycles of motion executed by the block before it stops)

2 2
(i) n T 0.8 7.854 rad/s, Fd mg

4 Fd
reduction in amplitude per cycle 0.4 10 2 m
4 mg 4 g
2 0.4 10 2
k n
0.4 102 7.854

k 0.0063 -Answer
4 9.81

1 kx0 1 kx0 1 2x
n 1 1 n 0 1
2 Fd 2 mg 2 g

1 7.854 8 10
2 2

1 39.5
2 0.0063 9.81

n 40 Answer