Measuring Vibration
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27-09-2010, 12:34 PM

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Since man began to build machines for industrial use, and especially since motors have been used to power them, problems of vibration reduction and isolation have engaged engineers. Gradually, as vibration isolation and reduction techniques have become an integral part of machine design, the need for accurate measurement and analysis of mechanical vibration has grown. This need was largely satisfied, for the slow and robust machines of yesteryear, by the experienced ear and touch of the plant engineer, or by simple optical instruments measuring vibratory displacement. Over the last 15 or 20 years a whole new technology of vibration measurement has been developed which is suitable for investigating modern highly stressed, high speed machinery. Using piezoelectric accelerometers to convert vibratory motion into an electrical signal, the process of measurement and analysis is ably performed by the versatile abilities of electronics.
In practice it is very difficult to avoid vibration. It usually occurs because of the dynamic effects of manufacturing tolerances, clearances, rolling and rubbing contact between machine parts and out-of-balance forces in rotating and reciprocating members. Often, small insignificant vibrations can excite the resonant frequencies of some other structural parts and be amplified into major vibration and noise sources. Sometimes though, mechanical vibration performs a useful job. For example, we generate vibration intentionally in component feeders, concrete compactors, ultrasonic cleaning baths, rock drills and pile drivers. Vibration testing machines are used extensively to impart a controlled level of vibration energy to products and sub-assemblies where it is required to examine their physical or functional response and ascertain their resistability to vibration environments. A fundamental requirement in all vibration work, whether it is in the design of machines which utilize its energies or in the creation and maintenance of smoothly running mechanical products, is the ability to obtain an accurate description of the vibration by measurement and analysis.
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