Separation of traveling and standing waves in a finite dispersive string with partial or continuous viscoelastic foundation

Xiangle Cheng, Antoine Blanchard, Chin An Tan, Huancai Lu, Lawrence A. Bergman, D. Michael McFarland, Alexander F. Vakakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The free and forced vibrations of a linear string with a local spring-damper on a partial elastic foundation, as well as a linear string on a viscoelastic foundation conceptualized as a continuous distribution of springs and dampers, are studied in this paper. Exact, analytical results are obtained for the free and forced response to a harmonic excitation applied at one end of the string. Relations between mode complexity and energy confinement with the dispersion in the string system are examined for the steady-state forced vibration, and numerical methods are applied to simulate the transient evolution of energy propagation. Eigenvalue loci veering and normal mode localization are observed for weakly coupled subsystems, when the foundation stiffness is sufficiently large, for both the spatially symmetric and asymmetric systems. The forced vibration results show that nonproportional damping-induced mode complexity, for which there are co-existing regions of purely traveling waves and standing waves, is attainable for the dispersive string system. However, this wave transition phenomenon depends strongly on the location of the attached discrete spring-damper relative to the foundation and whether the excitation frequency Ω is above or below the cutoff frequency ωc. When Ω<ωc, the wave transition cannot be attained for a string on an elastic foundation, but is possible if the string is on a viscoelastic foundation. Although this study is primarily formulated for a harmonic boundary excitation at one end of the string, generalization of the mode complexity can be deduced for the steady-state forced response of the string-foundation system to synchronous end excitations and is confirmed numerically. This work represents a novel study to understand the wave transitions in a dispersive structural system and lays the groundwork for potentially effective passive vibration control strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-209
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Sound and Vibration
StatePublished - Dec 22 2017


  • Dispersive string
  • Elastic foundation
  • Standing wave
  • Traveling wave
  • Wave separation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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