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A Modular Approach To Vibrations

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.55.1 - 6.55.8

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Paper Authors

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Corinne Darvennes

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Sally Pardue

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2793

A Modular Approach to Vibrations

Sally J. Pardue, Corinne M. Darvennes

Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville, Tennessee


An undergraduate vibration course has been presented in a modular form to improve student participation and understanding. The new modular format highlights the key concepts and tools required to perform vibration analysis on both single (SDOF) and multiple degree-of-freedom (MDOF) systems. The traditional approach, placing MDOF late in the semester, emphasizes the SDOF model and leaves the students with an oversimplified view of vibrations. A reorganization of the material found in most vibration texts encourages the students to strengthen their system analysis skills.

Module 1 covers the modeling of systems, both SDOF and MDOF. This has been a stumbling block for students thus needing a more focused approach. An early introduction of Lagrange’s equations has strengthened students’ ability to model complex engineering systems mathematically. Module 2 presents the tools required to carry out future analysis, such as matrix methods, complex notation, and MATLAB. Module 3 encourages physical understanding of the dynamic response of 1 and 2 DOF systems using an air-track demonstration unit. Observing and measuring actual system response motivates the students to understand the upcoming mathematical development. Module 4, the analytical heart of the course, presents free and forced responses for SDOF and MDOF systems. Equations are more easily understood because they correlate to observations made during Module 3. The course ends with Module 5, practical applications.

1. Introduction

My colleague and I sat on a park bench during Summer 2000 and discussed my recent teaching of our undergraduate vibrations class in Spring 2000. From her experience and mine, we observed overall student understanding of vibrations was disappointing. What were the key issues?

Lack of interest in the subject Modeling concepts, real systems transformed into SDOF/MDOF models Application of dynamic principles to obtain equations of motion Mathematical ability to deal with solution of differential equations Getting lost in the details

“Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2001, American Society for Engineering Education”

Darvennes, C., & Pardue, S. (2001, June), A Modular Approach To Vibrations Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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