is used to describe the means by which oscillation amplitudes are reduced through irreversible removal of vibratory energy in a mechanical system or a component. Dissipation, on the other hand, refers to the mechanism by which irreversible energy transfer, from vibratory to thermal, takes place. In this sense, damping is a macro-scale manifestation of atomic-scale dissipation.
High damping is desirable to attain low vibration and noise levels whereas low damping is desirable for increased sensitivity in sensors and certain precision instrumentation.
Damping is most obvious at resonance where the stiffness and inertia forces become equal. As a result, damping is a key factor in predicting vibration response of structures.
As we will see in the following sections, there are numerous paths to damping and in a complex structure several means of damping may take place simultaneously at different locations throughout the structure. Accordingly, in determining the response of a vibrating structure, the total effect of all types of damping that may be distributed throughout a structure must be taken into account.
Measurements of damping normally indicate the total damping a system experiences. It is difficult to isolate a component or a subsystem or a material within a system and measure its damping. In describing the various damping mechanisms, we will examine each through its effect on a single-degree-of-freedom (sdof) oscillator.
In this section, we will review the response of a simple oscillator and examine the role of damping on it and review the basic methods of measurement criteria for damping properties of structures. However, we will not consider here the role of damping in dynamic behaviors such as chaos, stability, etc.
Dissipation of vibratory energy takes place in both fluid and solid media, initiated by a number of possible macro activities. Accordingly, we will consider damping methods to reflect the media in which dissipation takes place when addressing damping methods in the next section. Models of fundamental dissipation mechanisms that describe energy transfer from ordered energy to disordered or thermalized energy are briefly summarized in the last section.