Technology

Vibration Testing – Answering the Whys and Hows?

From sub-atomic particles all the way as much as skyscrapers, internal movements and motions resulting from the absorption of energy make all objects vibrate for some degree. This fact implies that in a global filled up with energy and movement, vibrations — or the oscillating responses of objects when moved from a posture of rest — are the norm.

Some vibrations are expected and even necessary for products to work as expected. As a great example, think of traditional speakers that turn energy into vibrations, which ultimately allows music lovers to know their favorite singers and musicians. Another example could be the tightly stretched diaphragm included in the chest little bit of a stethoscope, which, when excited by sound waves, allows a physician to be controlled by a patient’s heartbeat and/or breathing.

Of course, not absolutely all objects vibrate in ways that’s helpful as well as intended. As an example, there probably isn’t a civil engineer alive who doesn’t know the story of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and how 40-mile-per-hour winds induced its collapse due to structural vibration. As for the rest people, we all know of the bridge’s final, fateful moments on November 7, 1940 thanks to the frequently viewed footage captured by camera store owner Barney Elliott. The film shows the bridge going into violent wavelike motion before breaking up and falling into Washington State’s Puget Sound below.

A more recent exemplory instance of unintended vibration testing services could be the now famous June 10, 2000 opening day of London’s Millennium Footbridge. The combined synchronous movements of pedestrians caused what’s referred to as positive feedback — a swaying motion emanating from the natural human instinct to stay balanced while walking. The effect triggered Londoners dubbing the structure the “Wobbly Bridge.”

Fortunately for manufacturers and consumers alike, the materials and products we rely on today in everything from airplane wings to suspension bridges are made stronger and more reliable thanks in large part to vibration testing.

From sub-atomic particles all the way as much as skyscrapers, internal movements and motions resulting from the absorption of energy make all objects vibrate for some degree. This fact implies that in a global filled up with energy and movement, shock and vibration testing services— or the oscillating responses of objects when moved from a posture of rest — are the norm.

Some vibrations are expected and even necessary for products to work as expected. As a great example, think of traditional speakers that turn energy into vibrations, which ultimately allows music lovers to know their favorite singers and musicians. Another example could be the tightly stretched diaphragm included in the chest little bit of a stethoscope, which, when excited by sound waves, allows a physician to be controlled by a patient’s heartbeat and/or breathing.

Of course, not absolutely all objects vibrate in ways that’s helpful as well as intended. As an example, there probably isn’t a civil engineer alive who doesn’t know the story of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and how 40-mile-per-hour winds induced its collapse due to structural vibration. As for the rest people, we all know of the bridge’s final, fateful moments on November 7, 1940 thanks to the frequently viewed footage captured by camera store owner Barney Elliott. The film shows the bridge going into violent wavelike motion before breaking up and falling into Washington State’s Puget Sound below.

A more recent exemplory instance of unintended mechanical shock and vibration testing could be the now famous June 10, 2000 opening day of London’s Millennium Footbridge. The combined synchronous movements of pedestrians caused what’s referred to as positive feedback — a swaying motion emanating from the natural human instinct to stay balanced while walking. The effect triggered Londoners dubbing the structure the “Wobbly Bridge.”

Fortunately for manufacturers and consumers alike, the materials and products we rely on today in everything from airplane wings to suspension bridges are made stronger and more reliable thanks in large part to vibration testing.

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