On the efficacy of friction damping in the presence of nonlinear modal interactions

Malte Krack, Lawrence A. Bergman, Alexander F. Vakakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This work addresses friction-induced modal interactions in jointed structures, and their effects on the passive mitigation of vibrations by means of friction damping. Under the condition of (nearly) commensurable natural frequencies, the nonlinear character of friction can cause so-called nonlinear modal interactions. If harmonic forcing near the natural frequency of a specific mode is applied, for instance, another mode may be excited due to nonlinear energy transfer and thus contribute considerably to the vibration response. We investigate how this phenomenon affects the performance of friction damping. To this end, we study the steady-state, periodic forced vibrations of a system of two beams connected via a local mechanical friction joint. The system can be tuned to continuously adjust the ratio between the first two natural frequencies in the range around the 1:3 internal resonance, in order to trigger or suppress the emergence of modal interactions. Due to the re-distribution of the vibration energy, the vibration level can in fact be reduced in certain situations. However, in other situations, the multi-harmonic character of the vibration has detrimental effects on the effective damping provided by the friction joint. The resulting response level can be significantly larger than in the absence of modal interactions. Moreover, it is shown that the vibration behavior is highly sensitive in the neighborhood of internal resonances. It is thus concluded that the condition of internal resonance should be avoided in the design of friction-damped systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-220
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Sound and Vibration
StatePublished - May 26 2016


  • Friction damping
  • Internal resonance
  • Jointed structures
  • Modal interactions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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