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Spring Mass System

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The Vibration Fundamentals Training Spring Mass System (alias SMS) is a turn-key integrated educational package for teaching/learning the fundamental principles of mechanical vibration as well as engineering mechanics. It provides both a comprehensive hands-on experimental device and an instrumentation package including wireless sensors for performing laboratory exercises to enhance student understanding of vibration theory.
The SMS clearly brings classical theory to life by providing a convenient mean to validate predictions and to demonstrate the influence of parameter changes on system response visually. Students can perform virtual experiments using the vibration simulation software and then verify the results with actual experiments thereby reinforcing the learning of difficult principles. Considering the importance and complexity of vibration principles, a course curriculum should include laboratory demonstration and hands-on experiments to help students understand the somewhat abstract concepts of vibration.


  • Clarify difficult concepts of vibration theory by performing hands-on controlled experiments
  • Perform both free and forced natural vibration experiments without damping for the first time using SpectraQuest developed wireless sensors.
  • Validate theoretical concepts by comparing experimental results with the computer simulation of the vibration theory
  • Determine the detrimental effects of vibration load transmission to the support structure and component fatigue life
  • Learn to control vibration amplitude using tuned mass dampers and damping treatments
  • Learn vibration measurement transducers, signal processing, data acquisition and data analysis


  • Fully integrated turn-key package consisting of comprehensive experimental device, wireless sensors, data acquisition instrumentation, analysis software, course curriculum, exercise book, and simulation software for virtual experimentation
  • Robust, user friendly, modular, and compact bench-top device for performing controlled experiments
  • Experimental setup for single and two-degrees of freedom spring-mass system (with and without damping), torsional vibration, and tuned-mass-damper
  • User friendly software with pre-defined experiments integrated with data acquisition and data analysis

Wireless Sensors Simply Enhance Experimentation and Learning Experience
Cables are often a source of problem due to entanglement and damping associated with them. Cables require special handling during any experimental procedure. They also created hard to characterize unwanted damping. Both of these issues have been solved by SpectraQuest SMS system. We have developed wireless sensors that eliminated both of these problems. Our proprietary algorithm enables simultaneous acquisition of data from all sensors, thus making it possible to obtain accurate phase information and the mode shapes.

Spring-Mass-Damper Module
The Spring-Mass-Damper module is the perfect tool for doing single and two DOF experiments, with and without viscous damping, with free or forced excitation. The unit comes with springs of different stiffness, several weights to vary the system mass, and a viscous damper cylinder with 3 types of viscous fluids to alter damping.
Natural frequencies for different mass and spring, with and without viscous damping, can be determined under free oscillations (initial displacement or velocity). Tests can also be done under forced excitation at various frequencies. The forcing function can be applied either at the base or the mass. The system response could be measured at one frequency at a time or over the entire frequency range by selecting the sine sweep excitation. The data can be easily stored and plotted with the software data processing capabilities to obtain the frequency response function. With the multi-plot feature of the analysis software, the system response to controlled variables (k, m, and c) can be easily compared. Fundamental experiments include determining the stiffness of the springs by performing static deflection measurements and also by observing the natural period under different loading conditions, determining effective mass of the spring and estimating the gravitational acceleration g.

Data Acquisition and Analysis Instrumentation
The SMS is equipped with wireless transducers, SpectraQuest multi-channel simultaneously sampled data acquisition (DAQ) system system; data analysis software with automated setup for performing each experiment, simulation software, motor control module, multi-featured display, and mounting hardware/tooling. Transducers are provided for the measurement of acceleration, force, and rotational speed. The DAQ system samples all channel simultaneously enabling accurate calculation of mode shapes. Easy to use software automates steps to conduct each experiment and display the results. Students can perform time and frequency domain analysis, read data to do calculations and compare them with theoretical predictions.
The DAQ hardware/software is fully integrated with the excitation motor operation and control. The user can send speed command to control the excitation frequency or a sine sweep can be applied to obtain the full frequency response information over the frequency range of interest. All experimental and data collection setups are pre-defined so that students can focus on the results. The user friendly software is a powerful tool for basic signal processing. Simple and intuitive interface allows fast and easy operation. The signal analysis modules include data presentations of time waveform, FFT spectrum, and frequency response function (FRF). Superimposed data comparison of two data sets is also possible

Vibration Simulation/Animation
Vibration fundamentals simulation software is designed to teach basic concepts using a new interactive and visual simulation technique. The student can perform virtual experiments by changing the parameters of a vibratory system and see how the system behavior is affected. A spring-mass-damper system is used to animate the vibration response. A multi-plot option can be used to compare their effects on vibration response. Therefore, instead of deriving the equations, the user can go one step further, Play and See the vibration behavior. The software includes the most common topics of a typical vibration course.

Experimental Curriculum Book
The experiments book includes detailed, step by step instructions for many experiments. Students can easily follow the instructions and conduct each experiment by themselves. The instructions tell the student how to setup the hardware, connect the transducers, setup the data acquisition system, configure the data collection, and analyze the data.