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A system is said to be a Cantilever beam only when one end of the system is tightly fixed to a
support and the other end is free to move.

Free Vibration

If a system is left vibrated on its own after an intial influence of any kind of outside force
, the result of that is called a Free Vibration.The vibration of a simple cantilever beam is an
example of free vibration as shown in this figures.

The simple cantilever beam shown in the above Figures is known as a mass-spring system where
the governing equation of motion is given by

= or + 2 = 0 (1.1)

=mass of the system

k= the stiffness of the system

= the natural circular frequency of the system


Equation (1) is a homogeneous second-order equation linear differential equation, has the
following general solution:

= sin + (0) cos ..(1.2)

The natural period of the oscillation is established from = 2 or

= 2 ..(1.3)

The natural frequency of the system is

1 1
= = 2 ..(1.4)

Viscously Damped Vibration

Every mechanical system must have some kind of friction which disperse mechanical
energy.Precise mathematical models of the dispersed friction forces are usually
complicated.Viscous damping force can be expressed by

= (1.5)

=damping coefficient

The equation of motion of a free damped vibration system is + + = 0

The general solution is

3 2

( + 1)wn t ( 1)wn t
= 1 + 2 ..(1.6)

= the damping ratio

The radicand ( 1) can be positive , negative or zero ,which gives us three categories of
damped motion:

1. When > 1 ( over damped) and when = 1 ( critically damped )

2. When < 1 ( under damped )

The frequency of damped vibration is given by

= 1
Natural Frequency of A Cantilever Beam

When an action is given to the end and left to vibrate on its own, the frequency at which the
cantilever beam fluctuate is its natural frequency. In this case its called Free Vibration. The
amount of natural frequency depends on the mass and stiffness of the system.


The objective of this experiment was to find out the natural frequency of the cantilever beam and
study both damped and undamped free vibration motion of a cantilever beam.

Materials and Equipment

No Item Description

1 Cantilever beam apparatus

2 Computer

3 DC-7104 Controller software

4 Strain gauge

5 Strain recorder DC-104R

6 Compact flash memory card

7 Viscous damper

8 Meter rule

1)The computer and the Strain Recorder is switched on.

2)The Strain Recorded application software is started by double clicking on the "DC104R
Controller" shortcut icon on the computer desktop.

3) Figure 5 shows the experiment setup. The operational manual for the operation of the strain
recorder and the recorded application software is referred.

4) The viscous damper is removed, if it is attached to the beam.

5) The beam is displaced and held ,ymax by -20 mm ,-15 mm , -10 mm ,-5mm ,0 mm, 5 mm, 10
mm, 15mm, 20mm and the strain recorder reading is recorded for each displacement value
manually from the "Numerical Monitor" screen of the application software.

6) The relationship of the displacement ( of the free end of the beam) and the strain recorder
reading is obtained by plotting an appropriate graph using a spreadsheet.

7)The beam is displaced by 30 mm and the beam is left to vibrate on its own. The strain recorder
reading is recorded by clicking on the " Play" and "Stop" button.

8) The recorded file is retrieved by clicking on the " Read USB" button.

9) The graph of the beam displacement versus the time , t is plotted.

10) The experiment is repeated using beam displacement of 50 mm.

11) The viscous damper is connected. Steps 7 to 10 is repeated using beam displacement of 30
mm and 50 mm, respectively.