From a technical point of view, vibration is defined as the oscillations of a mechanical or structural system about an equilibrium position. It is the result of a structure being displaced from its equilibrium position. Vibration varies from machine to machine, and for machinery that creates excessive vibrations, vibration damping material is required to prevent or at least lessen vibration and its effects. Excessive vibrations, without any limits or controls, can be a harm to the machine itself and also problematic for the workplace because they can also result in excessive noise. The process to lessen vibration and its effects is known as vibration damping or vibration dampening. When designing a piece of equipment, designers must consider vibrations that will result from the moving mechanical parts so as to get the right materials to effectively implement vibration dampening. A system of moving parts is built to last but undergoes wear and wears due to vibration as most parts tend to be subjected to constant oscillations and deteriorate on the process. Noise from the machines is also a result of vibrations.
In factories, they use customized vibration damping materials so as to control noise from machines and limit the effects of vibration on machinery. The nature of the materials is that they absorb vibrations from machines and thereby dampen noise as well. The main characteristic of good vibration damping materials is that they are dense and soft, and rubber perfectly fits this description. Some of the materials that form good dampers include cement, polymers, and various types of alloys. Since polymers can be custom compounded, they are readily available and can be made to desired properties so as to suit vibration of certain magnitudes.
There are some factors that have to be considered to when deciding the right damper for a machine. A good damper will have a good damping coefficient. The damping coefficient is a measure of how a material will bounce back the energy from the moving parts to restore the system to stability. Another property that is also considered is the wide range of temperature stability. This means that the vibration damping material used to make this damper can operate at high temperatures without losing its vibration properties. Finally, a good damper will have a long fatigue life. This is the condition whereby a material can withstand varying loads over time without breaking.
Damping has found application in areas like cars where they use springs so as to give the rider a smooth ride. In a golf club, vibration damping is used to prevent the impact of ball striking being transmitted to the handle, thus improving performance and comfort. Other advantages of damping apart from comfort are increased service life: machines that are damped will last longer since the damper will absorb the impact and effects of vibration, therefore reducing the risks of deterioration or fracture. Since the materials used to make a damper are soft, they are able to absorb noise and therefore will prevent noise pollution as well.