VISCOUS DAMPERS

Viscous damping has been widely used as the energy dissipation mechanism of choice in abating resonant vibration in structures. Such damping is commonly provided either by the flow of high viscosity fluid thru large openings (gaps) in ‘laminar flow viscous damping units’ (dashpots) or the flow of low-viscosity fluid thru small openings (orifices) in ‘turbulent flow viscous dampers’. The latter type is commonly used in the making of shock absorbers in automobile suspensions. ‘Turbulent flow viscous dampers’ are uni-directional with a rather complex mechanical design and require periodic maintenance, but ‘laminar flow viscous damping units’ are multi-directional with a simple mechanical design and are maintenance free. Alternatively, viscous damping can be provided by the motion of conductive solid material through a magnetic field in ‘magnetic dampers’ also known as ‘eddy current dampers’. The kinetic energy of a mechanical system being dampened by a magnetic damper is transferred to the conductor and dissipated as heat.