Analysis of the Elastica with Applications to Vibration Isolation
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Linear theory is useful in determining small static and dynamic deflections. However, to characterize large static and dynamic deflections, it is no longer useful or accurate, and more sophisticated analysis methods are necessary. In the case of beam deflections, linear beam theory makes use of an approximate curvature expression. Here, the exact curvature expression is used to derive the governing partial differential equations that describe the in-plane equilibrium and dynamics of a long, thin, inextensible beam, where the self-weight of the beam is included in the analysis. These beam equations are expressed in terms of arclength, and the resulting equilibrium shape is called the elastica. The analysis gives solutions that are accurate for any deflection size, and the method can be used to characterize the behavior of many structural systems. Numerical and analytical methods are used to solve or to approximate solutions to the governing equations. Both a shooting method and a finite difference, time-stepping algorithm are developed and implemented to find numerical solutions and these solutions are compared with some analytical approximation method results. The elastica equations are first used to determine both linear and nonlinear equilibrium configurations for a number of boundary conditions and loading types. In the case of a beam with a significant self-weight, the system can exhibit nonlinear static behavior even in the absence of external loading, and the elastica equations are used to determine the weight corresponding to the onset of instability (or self-weight buckling). The equations are also used to characterize linear and nonlinear vibrations of some structural systems, and experimental tests are conducted to verify the numerical results. The linear vibration analysis is applied to a vibration isolator system, where a postbuckled clamped-clamped beam or otherwise highly-deformed structure is used (in place of a conventional spring) to reduce system motion. The method is also used to characterize nonlinear dynamic behavior, and the resulting frequency-response curves are compared with those in the literature. Finally, the method is used to investigate the dynamics of subsea risers, where the effects of gravity, buoyancy, and the current velocity are considered.
DepartmentMechanical Engineering and Materials Science
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