Vibrations of mechanical structures: source localization and nonlinear eigenvalue problems for mode calculation

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Virginia Tech


This work addresses two primary topics related to vibrations in structures. The first topic is the use of a spatially distributed sensor network for localization of vibration events. I use a received signal strength (RSS) framework that presumes exponential energy decay with distance to the source. I derive the Cramér-Rao bound (CRB) for this parameter estimation problem, with the unknown parameters being source location, source intensity, and the energy dissipation rate. In this framework, I show that the CRB matches the variance of maximum likelihood estimators (MLEs) in more computationally expensive Monte Carlo trials. I also compare the CRB to the results of physical experiments to test the power of the CRB to predict spatial areas where MLEs show practical evidence of being ill-conditioned. Supported by this evidence, I recommend the CRB as a simple measure of localization accuracy, which may be used to optimize sensor layouts before installation. I demonstrate how this numerical optimization may be performed for some regions of interest with simple geometries. The second topic investigates modal vibrations of multi-body structures built from simple one-dimensional elements, with networks of elastic strings as the primary example. I introduce a method of using a nonlinear eigenvalue problem (NLEVP) to express boundary conditions of the vibrating elements so that the (infinitely many) eigenvalues of the full structure are the eigenvalues of the finite-dimensional NLEVP. The mode shapes of the structure can then be recovered in analytic form (not as a discretization) from the corresponding eigenvectors of the NLEVP. I show some advantages of this method over dynamic stiffness matrices, which is another NLEVP framework for modal analysis. In numerical experiments, I test several contour integration solvers for NLEVPs on sample problems generated from string networks.



mechanical vibrations, sensor networks, Cramér-Rao bound, controllability matrices, nonlinear eigenvalue problems