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If you apply initial conditions to a dynamic system, the system vibrates with decreasing amplitudes until it comes to rest. This phenomenon is called damping. Damping is a complex phenomenon that dissipates energy by many mechanisms like internal and external friction, thermal effects of cyclic elastic straining materials at the microscopic level, and air resistance. It is difficult to describe dissipation mechanisms mathematically. Damping effects are usually represented by idealized mathematical formulations. For many cases, damping effects are adequately described by equivalent viscous dampers. A viscous damper (or dashpot) generates a force that is proportional to velocity. A piston that can move freely inside a cylinder filled with a viscous fluid like oil is an example of a viscous damper. The damping force Fd is assumed to be linear with respect to the relative velocity at the two ends of the damper

Modal damping
Modal damping is defined as a ratio of the critical damping Ccr for each mode. Critical damping Cc is the least amount of damping that causes a system to return to its equilibrium position without oscillating. The modal damping ratio can be determined accurately with proper field tests. The ratio varies from 0.01 for lightly damped systems to 0.15 or more for highly damped systems. When experimental data is not available, use data from a similar class of systems to determine the damping properties. Smaller ratios are more conservative since higher ratios reduce vibration amplitudes. In general, neglecting damping leads to a conservative estimate of the system's response.

Rayleigh damping
The n x n symmetric damping matrix [C] is formulated as a linear combination of the mass [M] and stiffness [K] matrices: The type of damping described by (Equation 1) is known as Rayleigh or proportional damping. This form of [C] is orthogonal with respect to the system eigenvectors. By applying the modal coordinate transformation, the modal damping matrix [c] becomes diagonal: You can define Rayleigh damping for linear and nonlinear dynamic studies.

Rayleigh damping
The modal damping matrix [c] is given by:

ci 2

(Equation 3)

The coefficient of viscous damping ci for the ith mode is calculated by:

ci 2 i i2

(Equation 4)

and the viscous damping ratio zi is expressed as

i /(2i ) i / 2

(Equation 5)

Rayleigh damping
If the damping ratios for the ith and jth modes are zi and zj, then the Rayleigh coefficients a and b are calculated from the solution of the two algebraic equations:

If both modes have the same damping ratio ( zi = zj = z) , then the values of a and b are given by:

Rayleigh damping
The viscous damping ratio z for any other mode varies with frequency as shown in the figure: