Damped Oscillation

A spring, or any other mechanical part for that matter, is meant to do a certain action. It will continue to do that action until it is either forcibly stopped or until the action of other factors causes it to stop. On the other hand, the spring will not automatically start moving without an action that sets it into motion and usually, will not continue to move unless there is energy driving it to do so. In the case of the spring, it will not move up and down without someone or something making that initial movement.

The spring, or other type of machine part, must function in the area that it is working in, under the type of conditions it was designed for. Some parts, whether they are meant to or not, can build up heat eventually which can lead to their destruction. In some machines, it is heat buildup and friction that leads to early demise in most cases. Heat causes damage because as the metal heats up, it will expand. Most designs have some allowance for this expansion; however there is still some possibility of damage to the part in question or the related parts.

To keep the parts working correctly, the damped oscillation system takes some of the energy that is created by those various parts and then translates it back into the parts as redirected energy and heat. Some of this energy can be stored for later use while the rest of it will be used immediately.

Not all movement is meant to occur though. In some machines, certain parts move so fast and so much that they cause additional vibration in the surrounding parts. That vibration can cause the machine to work in a loud way or to move while it is in action. Those vibrations, coupled with the heat and the expansion can age the machine and cause it to prematurely break down. In some applications, there are certain ways to slow these additional vibrations or to deflect them from happening in the first place, reducing the strain and aging on the machine.

A washing machine has a number of parts, all meant to do certain actions. There is an electrical board that directs each of these actions to occur, including the timing of a pump that sends water into the tub and the opening of a pump that dispels water back out of it. There is another part that causes the drum to turn which agitates the water filled tub so that the clothes can be washed.

For some of these parts, the very liquid that it is in slows down its movement, but for the other parts, especially in other types of machines, there are other ways to keep the vibration from building out of control, damping the oscillation and protecting the machine’s inner gears. How this is accomplished will depend on the machine and the application because there are limitations in every situation that must be addressed.

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