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Page 1

IIT Gandhinagar, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering ME312: Kinematics and Dynamics of Machines Laboratory
(Structured Laboratory Component)

V1.0/HPM/ Mar 2012



1. AIM:
The aim of this experiment is to allow you to experiment with vibrations in mechanical elements.

The forced and free vibrations equipment used for this study is shown in Figure 1, and its various
components are marked in Figure 2.

Figure 1. Free and Forced Vibrations Apparatus

The Free and Forced Vibratiosn Apparatus permits study of a wide range of topics related to
vibrations. The experimentation set-ups are mounted on an aluminium sectional frame. The oscillator
consists of a beam (part (2) in Figure 2), which can pivot at one end and is suspended by a helical spring
(part (6) in Figure 2) at the other end. The beam has a hole grid that permits the attachment of springs,
exciter (part (1) in Figure 2), damper (part (3) in Figure 2) in a variety of configurations. The apparatus
also consists of an inductive proximity sensor that can be connected to a computer for measuring and
viewing the vibrations of the beam. The apparatus also comes with an analog plotter (part (5) in Figure
2) that serves two purposes, that is, to record the vibration data and also provide a means for generating
Coulomb friction (due to friction between the stylus and the paper). Finally, the excited control unit (part
(4) in Figure 2) can be used to switch on the imbalance exciter and gradually change the frequency of
excitation for forced vibration experiments.

Page 2

IIT Gandhinagar, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering ME312: Kinematics and Dynamics of Machines Laboratory
(Structured Laboratory Component)

V1.0/HPM/ Mar 2012


Figure 2: Components of Free and Forced Vibrations Apparatus

The apparatus is already assembled and there is minimal setup procedure.

Attachment of springs and dampers are easily changed by attaching these components at the desired
location on the hole grid and tightening the attachment nut.

For forced vibration experiments, the speed control knob is to be gradually increased to increase the
speed of unbalance forcer and the vibrations of the unit are to be observed through the software
installed on the computer connected to the system.

Data recording procedure: Currently, capability to save the sensor data is not available, so it is
suggested that for each experiment, you cature a screenshot of the plots displayed on the computer
screen (using Alt+PrintScreen) and paste it on to a word document for future calculations and

The relevant course material pertaining to vibrations applies for this structured experiment and you are
expected to refer to these lecture material, textbook and assigned resources for the course ME304.


(a) Free vibrations - spring 1
 Ensure that spring 1 is attached and that the damper is not attached to the oscillating bar.
 Deflect the end of the beam by hand and release it. Observe the vibrations and caputre the

time history of oscillations using Alt+PrintScreen. Calculate the natural frequency of

Page 3

IIT Gandhinagar, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering ME312: Kinematics and Dynamics of Machines Laboratory
(Structured Laboratory Component)

V1.0/HPM/ Mar 2012


oscillations from the captured graphs. Warning: During these oscillations, take care that the
bar does not contact the sensor.

 Repeat the above step two more times with different initial amplitude. Do you obtain the
same natural frequency of oscillations?

 Attach the dashpot and repreat the above steps to set up free vibrations and calculate
fequency of oscillations. Do you get the same frequency as without damping? Comment on
any difference if any. Also comment on whether the damping ratio can be calculated from
the observed oscillations.

 Detach the dashpot from the bar and attach a stylus (pen) to generate coulomb friction due
to contact between pen and paper. Again repeat the steps similar to previous steps to
calculate frequency of oscillations. Do you obtain the same frequency as without coulomb
friction? Comment on any differences if any.

(b) Free vibrations - spring 2
 Remove spring 1 and attach spring 2 to the bar.
 Repeat the steps above for the five cases mentioned above (i-iii)with three different initial

amplitudes (with no damping or friction), (iv) with the dashpot attached, and finally (v) with
coulomb friction (pen attached). Comment on differences in results between both springs.
Can you estimate from the results which one is a stiffer spring? Justify your answer.

(c) Forced vibrations
 Swith on the mass-imbalance exciter.
 Gradually increase the frequency of excitation from 0 to 4 hertz.
 At 4 hertz forcing frequency, note down the amplitude of vibrations.
 Gradually increase frequency to 5 Hz and again note down the amplitude of oscillations.

Repeat this by gradually increasing frequency to 6 Hz, 7 Hz, 7.5 Hz, 8 Hz, 8.4 Hz.
 Warning: DO NOT go above 8.5 Hz when dashpot is not attached to the bar. This may cause

serious damage to the apparatus. Take extreme care when going above 8 Hz and increase
the frequency very gradually.

 Fnally plot amplitude of oscillations versus frequency of oscillations. Can you roughly
estimate the natural frequency of this oscillating system from this plot?

 Attach the stylus to add Coulomb damping, repeat the same steps above, noting down
readings at 4, 5, 6, 7, 7.5, 8, 8.4 Hz, respectively. Again, generate an amplitude versus
frequence plot and show both the plots (no damping and with Coulomb friction) on the
same chart. Comment on any differences.


1. Robert L. Norton, Kinematics and Dynamics of Machinery, SI Edition,2009, McGraw Hill ,ISBN:
0071278524, EAN: 9780071278522

2. Oleg Vinogradov, Fundamentals of Kinematics and Dynamics of Machines and
Mechanisms,2000, CRC Press, ISBN: 0849302579,EAN: 9780849302572

3. S.S. Rao, Mechanical Vibrations, 4th Edition, Prentice-Hall, ISBN-13: 9780130489876, 2010

4. Uicker J.J., Pennock G.R. and Shigley J.E., Theory of Machines and Mechanisms, 3rd Edition, 2005,
Oxford University Press, New York,

5. Rattan S.S., Theory of Machines, 3rd Edition, 2009, 5th Reprint 2010,Tata-McGraw Hill

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IIT Gandhinagar, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering ME312: Kinematics and Dynamics of Machines Laboratory
(Structured Laboratory Component)

V1.0/HPM/ Mar 2012


6. GUNT, Experiment Instructions: TM 155 Free and Forced Vibration Apparatus, Gutn- Hamburg
Novermber 2011

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