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Free vibration with damping


1. To compare measured and calculated values of the natural frequency of a
spring mass system .
2. To determine the damping ratio of the system .

Apparatus required:
1. Free and forced vibration apparatus (P5000)
2. Laser displacement sensor
3. Digital storage oscilloscope


An ideal vibrating system can be modeled as a system consisting of mass and

spring elements. When the mass is displaced from its equilibrium position,
mechanical work is done the system .The work done is stored in the spring as
potential energy. When the mass is released from the displaced position the
potential energy stored in the spring is converted to kinetic energy of the mass.
When the mass reaches the equilibrium position all the potential energy stored in
the spring is converted to kinetic energy. Beyond the equilibrium position the mass
deforms the spring and kinetic energy is converted into potential energy on
reaching other extreme position. This conversion takes place in a cycle. The
frequency of occurrence of this cycle is known as natural frequency. In the absence
of energy dissipating elements the oscillation continues forever.
However in real systems energy dissipation occurs by dry friction, viscous friction,
aerodynamic friction and eddy current losses. The energy dissipating members are
modeled as dampers. The real vibrating system is modeled as a system consisting
of spring, mass and damper.

Description of apparatus

The vibration mass (1) is constrained in an externally pressurized, air bearing

guide (2) and is connected to frame (3) by springs (4)

Attached to the mass is a copper plate (5), which moves in the air gap of
electromagnet (6) attached to frame (3), to give eddy current damping. A stylus (7)
is fixed to the mass and records its motion on a strip of teledeltos paper (8) in a
paper drive (9) fixed to the base plate (10) . The base plate (10) also carries the
driving motors (11), gear box (12) and eccentric (13) fro oscillating the frame, and
the air pressure regulator and filter (14) for the air bearings. The driving motor and
gear box for forcing the system by rotating out of balance force (15) may be fitted
to the vibrating mass (1)

The control unit (16) supplies the frame driving motor (11), the rotating out of
balance driving motor (15), the recording paper drive (9) and the stylus (7). The
layout of the front panel of the control unit is shown in figure 2.

The number of steel plate for changing the magnitude of the vibrating mass are
Constants of apparatus

Vibrating mass including springs, pen and copper armature

(Excluding any extra masses) = 1.310 kg
Spring stiffness, K =18 N/m (Total spring stiffness for three springs, k =18 *3

Natural frequency offspring and mass system.

1 k
fn =
2 m
k= stiffness of three springs =18 *3N/m
m=mass of the vibrating system.

Vibrating mass excluding external masses= 1.310 kg

1 m
Time period, T = 2
fn k


Experiment part 1:

Variation of undamped natural frequency with vibrating mass.


Set the eccentric to zero radius and the damping current (fig .2, G and I) to zero.
The extra masses for increasing the value of the vibrating mass are loaded across
the top of the vibrated mass fig (1) and secured by the knurled nut on the central
pillar. The air pressure to the air bearings may need to be adjusted as the vibrating
mass is changed.
Measure the natural frequency and period of vibration form the displacement
record obtained in the oscilloscope.
Experiment part 2:

Measurement of Damping ratio from the Record of free vibration

Method 1. Using amplitudes of successive maximas
ln (Yn / Yn+1) =
1 c2

Where, c (Damping ratio)

(ln (Yn / Yn 1)) 2

4 2 (ln(Yn / Yn 1 )) 2

where Yn, Yn+1 are the heights of successive maximas from the graph.

Method 2 Using amplitudes of first and nth maximas

1 Y
c ln 1
n nt p Yn 1
Calculation of natural frequency of oscillation of damped system

1 c
2 k


1. Set the damping current to particular amps.

2. Record the vibration using Digital storage oscilloscope.
3. Calculate the damping ratio from the formula.

Sl.No. Mass of Period of Oscillations Frequency of

vibrating (s) Oscillation
system (s-1)
Theoretical Actual Theoretical Actual

Mass of vibrating system =

Sl. No Dampin n ntp Amplitude Damping ratio Frequency of

(file g Oscillation
No) current (s-1)
Y1 Y2 Yn+1
(c) calculate Actual
V mm V mm V mm Method 1 Method