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A Rocking/Rolling Half-Disk Vibratory System

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

ME Demonstrations and Laboratories

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Jeffrey C. Hayen Oregon Institute of Technology Orcid 16x16

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Jeffrey Hayen joined the faculty in the MMET Department at the Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT) in 2011. Before arriving at OIT, Jeffrey served as a Professor of Engineering, Mathematics, and Physics at Southwestern Oregon Community College for 16 years. Prior to that experience, he worked in the aerospace industry as a thermodynamicist and propellant analyst for high-performance upper-stage rockets at the Space Systems Division of the General Dynamics Corporation. He also has conducted research concerning structural dynamics and control for the Kajima Corporation of Japan, and he currently provides technical analyses and performs computational simulations for the United Launch Alliance in Denver. Jeffrey earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from San Diego State University, and his Ph.D. degree in Applied Mechanics and Physics from the California Institute of Technology.

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A topic routinely covered in an elementary physics or (to a greater extent) mechanical vibrations course is the case of an object exhibiting small-amplitude oscillations with no significant energy dissipation (at least over many cycles of oscillation). This situation closely approximates simple harmonic motion, and it enables a gentler introduction to the study of vibratory systems. Since no appreciable damping mechanisms are present, only the concepts/characteristics of amplitude, period, and frequency are considered.

An experiment has been devised for a mechanical engineering course (taught numerous times by the author) which is utilized to demonstrate a vibratory system. The object considered consists of a stable aluminum half disk that rocks/rolls back and forth when given an initial displacement from its equilibrium position and released from an initial state of rest (see reference diagrams). Prior to performing this experiment, the students enrolled in this course are initially led through a derivation of the governing equation of motion (an ordinary non-linear differential equation) for this system. However, because the derivation is based upon an energy (i.e., Rayleigh’s) method, the essential parameter characterizing the vibration can be determined from this equation without the need to formally solve the differential equation.

This derivation also provides an excellent opportunity for students to review and reinforce their understanding of, as well as proficiency in calculating, such kinetic properties as the mass center and the mass-moment of inertia for a nontrivial geometric solid object. The students must utilize these results directly within the equations involved in order to obtain the theoretical formula for the undamped natural frequency omega-n of the rocking/rolling half disk:

[Equation for Omega-n]

From this formula, the theoretical period can be evaluated as well, and the experiment essentially consists of comparing the actual period with the theoretical period over a time interval of about ten oscillations for the half disk. The effect of the initial angular displacement for the half disk (larger values of which produce increasingly noticeable non-linear behavior) is also investigated.

The experiment itself can be conveniently conducted in a classroom with minimal apparatus: the aluminum half disk, a dry clean table surface, a chronometer, and a printable/erectable reference protractor that facilitates the release of the half disk from several predetermined initial angular displacements. It is anticipated that this experiment can (or will) be briefly demonstrated during the formal presentation of this article.

Hayen, J. C. (2017, June), A Rocking/Rolling Half-Disk Vibratory System Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--27508

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