e-book Passive Vibration Control

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A thorough introduction into the relevant theory both of mechanical modelling and vibration control theory are presented and the most important design goals are discussed.

Introduction to Active Vibration Control

Various strategies for modelling complex mechanical structures are given and an introduction to active, passive and semi-active strategies for vibration control are discussed. In a number of examples from different areas it will be shown that a comprehensive approach, in which both the mechanical design problem and the development of suitable controls are considered simultaneously, can present considerable advantages.

Even in research communities, the problem of integrating structure and control design is not always satisfactorily dealt with. As opposed to a control system pushing a structure away from its equilibrium, it can be far more promising to modify the equilibrium positions of the uncontrolled structure in such way as to achieve the desired shapes with moderate control effort, possibly in such a way that no control power at all is required to hold the new shape.

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Tensegrity structures will be discussed in this context. Summarizing, the course will offer a unified view on active and passive control, and the mechanical modelling of structures. The underlying theory is presented and applied to different challenging engineering examples.


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The course is directed to young researchers, to doctoral students and also to engineers working in fields related to structures, vibrations and control. Some manufacturers recommend adding a safety factor to account for vibrations when sizing and selecting components — especially those that involve rolling or sliding motion, such as linear guides and screws. Of course, the ideal solution would be to avoid or remove vibrations altogether, eliminating the risk of damage to the equipment or interference with the process being performed.

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Vibration isolation - Wikipedia

But avoiding vibrations is difficult since they can be caused not only by the machine or the nature of the process itself but also by structural resonances vibrations of the building or supporting structure close to its natural frequency. Even in an environment as benign as a lab, a variety of sources cause vibrations that can affect the equipment or process.

Passive vibration control of the SCOLE beam system

Image credit: Thorlabs Inc. Damping vs. Vibration damping is the process of absorbing or changing vibration energy to reduce the amount of energy transmitted to the equipment or machinery, while vibration isolation prevents energy from entering machinery. Passive and active methods of vibration damping or vibration isolation differ in the way they respond to and manage vibrations.

Passive Vibration Isolation

An easy way to distinguish between the two is that passive systems use simple mechanical devices, fluids, or elastomeric materials, whereas active vibration damping relies on a closed-loop system with feedback. Passive vibration damping systems often employ a mechanical device or a fluid to reduce vibration, but passive damping can also be achieved with viscoelastic materials. In either case, the kinetic energy of the vibration is converted to heat. Because many types of damping systems have inherent resonances, they are primarily effective at frequencies higher than 4 Hz.

Passive vibration isolation unit

Passive vibration dampers also tend to have trouble compensating for vibrations that occur in more than one direction — in other words, they are most effective for vibrations that occur only in the X, Y, or Z direction, and less so for vibrations that occur in multiple directions simultaneously. Shown here is an example of a passive vibration damping system, consisting of a simple harmonic oscillator a rigid mass and a spring with an added damper.

The damper removes mechanical energy from the system in the form of heat.


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