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CSU, Chico Spring 2009

Machine Vibration

Hussam AliKhan

April 8, 2009
Mechatronic Engineering Student
California State University Chico,
CA 95929-0789



Machine Vibration Measurement
This paper presents the methods of measuring vibration of systems. During the
development stage of machines, many factors are needed to be considered and taken into account
and problems that arise due to miss-computation of parts that cause vibration in systems.
Measurement is a critical component in machine design. The sole purpose of this measurement
analysis is that if it is feasible to lower the risk of machine failures due to vibration. Many
measuring fundamentals are used to measure the vibration of systems. The measurements are
taken by transducers.

A - The radius of the circular orbit traveled
C - Damping coefficient
F - Centrifugal force
- Natural frequency in hertz
g - Gravitational constant
K - Stiffness a property of a solid body
M - Mass of body
r Radius by the point under examination
t - Time in seconds
W - Unbalance weight
x(t) - Displacement of a point as a function
of time
(t) - Velocity of a point as a function of
(t) - Acceleration of a point as a function of
- Angular velocity

- Rotational speed

In the 21st century, most of the
machinery we use is controlled by a unique
system. These systems are used in the
engineering, medical, or business fields. The
continuing trend toward development of
powerful machinery that operates at high
speeds needs accurate measurement
techniques before the deployment of
machinery in the fields. Imagine a crawler
dozer automobile equipped with a Pipe-
Layer that can carry around thousands of
pounds, suddenly fails. The damage that will
be caused by the crawler dozer might
include casualties, cost of repair, and the
project may suffer a delay. In order to
minimize the risk of these forms of disasters,
it is required that, at the development stage


every system should undergo some
measurement and instrumental analysis. The
measuring systems should be replicated
under certain dimensions to produce data
needed to draw meaningful conclusions
(Wowk, [2]). These data can be used to
minimize or eliminate the error factor,
which is in our case the vibration. Vibration
is a known phenomenon. There are obvious
yet clear reasons why vibration occurs. The
most common source of vibration is
unbalance (VSC, [3]). Vibration analysis not
only facilitates to pinpoint the machinery
defects, it also locates problems as rotor
imbalance and misalignment that create a
great proportion of mechanical deficiencies
(Corvib, [1]). If a control system contains
excessive vibration, which will cause
damages to the device, and accelerated wear,
or even cause disastrous machinery failure.
Therefore, it is vital to undergo vibration
measurements, and it is important to
examine vibration from a fundamental view
to determine what is to be measured.
Data Acquisition
One of the main methods to measure
vibration is to use transducers. Transducers
are devices that are used in vibration
analysis to convert mechanical energy into
electrical energy (Wowk, [2]). In addition,
these devices are sensors capable of
detecting parameters such as displacement,
velocity, and acceleration. Machine
vibration is a combination of periodic
functions that are essentially generated by a
repeated disturbances or unbalanced forces
(Mitchell, [11]). There are two basic types
of unbalances, static and dynamic. Static
unbalance is a condition where the only
force acting on the object is gravity (VSC,
[3]). Dynamic unbalance is a condition
where the element rotating at its design
speed will cause a centrifugal force that
tends to displace the mass center of gravity


and results in a vibration (VSC, [3]).
Therefore, the relationship between the
machines operating speed is proportional to
the vibration. The vibration increases, when
machines operating speed is increased.
Vibration Specialty Corporation
states that the increase is many times the
amount anticipated; the centrifugal force due
to the unbalance varies as the square of the
speed increases (VSC, [3]). The
mathematical representation of the above
statement is given by:

Every machine has a different
weight, radius, and rotation speed.
Therefore, the above equation assists to
define the centrifugal force acting on the
machine. There are several devices that can
be used to measure vibration of machines,
but each device has its advantages and
disadvantages. To determine the appropriate
device to use for measurement is dependent
on whether the system is statically or
dynamically unbalanced. In addition,
frequency related parameters should be
considered to accurately detect the vibration.
As far as the unbalanced machinery
vibration displacement is concerned the
motion is time dependent and the
displacement can be described by the
() = sin (2)
In order to generate an accurate
vibration measurement, it is vital to use a
velocity or a acceleration transducer.
Therefore, by taking the derivative of the
earlier equation, it gives the velocity of the
point as a function of time that can be
described by the equation:
() = cos (3)
In the same way, the acceleration is obtained
by differentiating the velocity equation,
which gives as follows:
() =
sin (4)


There are some other factors that
shape machine vibration, such as stiffness,
damping and mass. These factors if they are
combined with the above equations, they
form the equation of motion, a second-order
differential equation that defines dynamic
force as a function of time (PH2130
Mathematical, [5]):
() = + + (5)
The total force generated by the three
equations changes with respect to frequency.
In addition, to analyze the vibration, it is
essential to obtain a frequency chosen
amplitude data. The frequency will clearly
establish the possible causes and then the
amplitude can be used to evaluate the
vibration severity(Shreve, [10]). Vibration
severity charts are formed by the preceding
equation. The chart represents the tolerable
levels of vibration in terms of displacement
(IRD Mechanalysis, [4]). The chart is
diagramed in Fig.1.



Fig.1. Vibration Severity Chart of General Machinery. (IRD Mechanalysis ,[4])

The above chart characterizes the
technique to choose a sensor, and the option
of measuring displacement, velocity and
acceleration, are both best accomplished by
comparing the relative contributions to total
force at the specific frequencies of interest
(IRD Mechanalysis, [4]).
The reason why acceleration is
chosen to be measured is because
acceleration is a physical characteristic of a


system, and the measurement of acceleration
is used as an input into some types of
control systems. In addition, the control
system uses the measured acceleration to
correct the changing dynamic condition
(Accelerometers and How They Work, [9]).
Device Measurement Technique
There are many transducers that can
measure vibration of machines. In order to
precisely measure vibration, it is necessary
to choose whether to measure velocity or
acceleration of the machine application. If
velocity is chosen to be measured, then
Velocity pickup can be used, and velocity
pickup is a transducer greatly used for
monitoring the vibration of rotating
machinery (Reliability Direct, [6]). This
device converts the physical motion into an
electrical signal that can further process
along a frequency axis (Wowk, [2]). This
device has a low natural frequency and they
are designed to measure vibration
frequencies that are greater than the natural
frequency of the pickup (Wowk, [2]). The
resonance or natural frequency's equation is
given by:


The importance of the preceding
equation is that the weight of the object and
the stiffness affects the measuring data of
vibration using the velocity pickup
However, if acceleration is chosen to
measured, then Accelerometer can be used,
and accelerometer is a transducer that
measures the acceleration of a device, and it
measurers the vibration and acceleration due
to gravity (Bob, [7]). When the
accelerometer is active, the acceleration of
an object is converted into a proportional
analog signal (Vibra. [8]). The advantage of
using accelerometer over other transducer is
that this device can calculate acceleration
and measure vibration and shock even if the


measuring machine application or building
is at an angle. The accuracy of it is sharp
enough to measure the smallest vibration
caused by a musical instrument (Bob, [7]).
However, the accelerometer has to be
mounted to the device that is being
measured to give precise readings or it will
not work. The Accelerometer has an
advantage over the velocity pickup.
Accelerometer is smaller and lighter than the
velocity pickup. In addition, it has better
sensitivity characteristics, and a wide useful
frequency range (Wowk, [2]). The method
to attach the accelerometer is critical in
order to obtain accurate vibration data. Fig.2
shows one example of how to attach an
Accelerometer to eliminate selected
measurement errors.

Fig.2 Accelerometer attached to Surface to eliminate
measurement errors. (Lok Shun ,[14])
There are many types of
Accelerometers, such as Capacitive,
Piezoelectric, Piezoresistive, Hall Effect,
Magnetoresistive, Heat Transfer
(Accelerometers and How They Work, [9]).
There are two major types of
accelerometer and they are high and low
impedance accelerometer. However, the
main difference between them is that the
high impedance has a very high output from
the charge of the piezoelectric crystal, and
the low impedance has a FET circuit built
into it in order to detect the charge generated
by the piezoelectric crystal (Vibra. [8]).
Fig.3 and Fig.4 depicts the High and Low
impedance accelerometer.


Fig.3 High Impedance Accelerometer. (Vibra ,[8])

Fig.4 Low Impedance Accelerometer. (Vibra ,[8])
In general, measuring data with
Accelerometer is accurate as long as the
frequency range is within the machines
specification. Fig.5 shows a manufacturer
accelerometer made by Endevco.

Fig.5 Endevco Model 22 Accelerometer. (BJ , [16])
These transducers are expensive, and
there are other methods to analyze the
vibration. One of these methods is using
FFT Spectrum to generate the frequency on
the axis. Fig.6 shows FFT (Fast Fourier
Transform) spectrum data analyzed of

Fig.6 FFT Spectrum. (Wowk, [2])

Fig.6 mainly shows a data collected
using FFT spectrum. This device does not
analyze the data; however, it only generates
the frequency that is being inputted to it.
Therefore, to accurately measure vibration,
it is important to use a transducer.
Nonetheless, every machine that can
be measured has a standard vibration limit.
The vibration limits standard table is
provided by Machine Dynamics, INC. This
table aids engineers that are using different
types of machines to measure vibration; they
are capable of using transducers to check if
the machine has exceeded the vibration
limit. The Vibration limit table is provided
in Table 1:

Table.1 Vibration Limits. (Wowk, [2])



Machinery vibration is a imperative
subject that needs further embracement by
physicists and engineers. The measurement
of unique systems assists to insure Health
societies to be capable of advancing in
curing patients. Furthermore, vibration
measurement is vital to the development of
new buildings and structures. These
measurements increase the prevention of
potential fatigue failures. Since the turn of
the 21st century a revolution in developing
machines has brought advancement to
improve the way the world revolves around
us. Solely given the fact, that machines are
used in medical, and engineering fields, if a
failure occurs, serious damages can be
caused. Therefore, measuring machine
application aids in minimizing the risk of
causing catastrophic damages.

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