Vibration Damping Material

January 30, 2015

Vibration damping material is used to reduce or eliminate noise in industrial, electronic, structural and ergonomic applications caused by resonance and vibration. Sorbothane is a great solution for most any application and our visco-elastic polymer has been used in everything from small gadgets, protective footwear, the U.S. Airforce Memorial, the Space Shuttle and beyond.

What is damping?

Damping is the energy dissipation properties of a material or system under cyclical stress. It is the conversion of mechanical energy into thermal energy. The amount of energy dissipated is a measure of the material’s damping level.

How does vibration damping work?

Damping materials work by changing the natural vibration frequency of the vibrating surface and thereby lowering radiated noise and increasing the transmission loss of the material. Many applications and products are subject to vibration from internal, as well as external sources. The effect of this vibration can range in severity from a computer owner’s perception of the quality of their noisy hard drive to the actual failure of a mechanical system due to a high-cycle fatigue.

Do you have examples?

Electronics, laptop computers, car navigation systems, mobile phones, and many other types of advanced electronic equipment are subject to vibration from internal and external sources such as shipping and accidental dropping. Vibration damping is a crucial requirement when designing electronic systems as it is a common source of damage to electronic components and connections. Sources for concern are soldering connections becoming weakened, loss of data or damage to disk drives, inefficient operation and performance.

With the rise of mobile phones and PDAs like the iPhone and Blackberry, vibration damping is extremely important because of the frequency in which users drop them and abuse them. These devices need to handle extreme shock well. Choosing the ideal vibration damping material to fit the job should be a top priority.

Thin metal parts and structures easily transmit noise when impacted or by natural resonance when excited by acoustic energy. This vibrating metal is also a common problem in many industrial and commercial applications and the problem is easily solved with the right vibration damping material.

What is the most common damping mechanism?

The most common damping mechanism used to address vibration (and noise) problems is viscoelastic damping. Viscoelastic means that the material exhibits both elastic and viscous behavior. An elastic material is one that stores energy during a load and all energy is returned when that load is removed. A viscous material doesn’t return any energy. All energy is lost as “pure damping” once the load is removed. A viscoelastic material therefore stores some of the energy during a load and then the remainder is released as heat.

How can Sorbothane help?

Sorbothane is a viscoelastic vibration damping material that combines shock absorption, good memory, vibration isolation and vibration damping characteristics into one solution. In addition, Sorbothane is a very effective acoustic damper and absorber. While many materials exhibit one of these characteristics, Sorbothane combines all of them in a stable material with a long fatigue life.

Interested in learning more about Sorbothane's solutions? Contact us today.