Vibration is both necessary and a nuisance. In various applications we need vibration for parts to work correctly. Even sound is nothing more than vibration. But, if the vibration becomes excessive or does not follow the correct path, machines can break and the people who are using the machine can become fatigued. In all applications from personal comfort to delicate aerospace applications, vibration reduction is both a comfort and safety consideration. There are many applications that should be considered when choosing a vibration reduction system.
Ergonomics, Personal Comfort and Protection in Military, Defense and Other Applications
In the military world, there are a number of interesting situations where excessive vibration can become a problem. For instance, soldiers fire guns that are not only heavy but very powerful. Every time the weapon fires, it can send a blast of energy backwards into the shoulder of the soldier, which can not only be painful but can also be exhausting after only a few rounds.
Soldiers also have to travel in vehicles that are meant for rugged terrain and extreme conditions, not necessarily for comfort. These vehicles include tanks and all-terrain vehicles. They must sit in or on these vehicles for hours at a time without any kind of breaks- sometimes traveling one hundred or more miles. The more vibration created by the vehicle, the more fatiguing it can be.
But, vibration reduction is not just meant to protect the soldier driving a tank, flying a plane or shooting a gun. Ask soldiers about how much time they spend on their feet and they will grimace. They literally spend hours on their feet- marching, hiking, simply walking and carrying heavy equipment in addition to their guns and other weaponry. Every time they pick their foot up and put it back down, they create energy in the form of vibration and force. That force can either be dissipated and absorbed or can be transferred right back from the foot to the ground and back to the foot, which increases not only fatigue but the risk of serious injury as well.
Vibration reduction is important to reduce the sound made by the machinery in question, which increases the stealth of the solider and the machines. The soldiers themselves want to be as quiet as possible in most situations.
Aerospace and Vibration Reduction
Flight is a very complex concept. A plane is a machine that weighs a huge amount but soars through the air like a bird does. It is done with a high power jet engine and a specialized design that allows the plane to travel along in the sky. Jet engines by their working nature are very loud. Vibration caused by the sound and motion can also cause serious safety issues. For instance, nuts and bolts commonly used as fasteners in the plane can be vibrated loose, which may be a safety risk for the plane and may also affect the comfort of the passengers in the plane. Even if the plane is a military plane, vibration can become a problem for the pilot and other crew members who must often sit in the plane for long flights in dangerous situations. The last thing they need on their mind is the added stress of excessive vibration. The high G forces increases the stress of flight on the people inside of the plane as well as both the inside and outside of the plane itself. Helicopters by their very design are often even worse. The rotors of the copter are right above it, which makes as loud as or louder than a jet plane, especially for the people inside of it. Vibration is also more prominent in a helicopter making a vibration reduction system even more important to consider.
Vibration Reduction and the Protection of Sensitive Equipment or Electronics
In military and civilian applications, electronics and other sensitive equipment must be protected from the damage that can be caused by excessive vibration. Sensitive sound gathering equipment can be distorted by vibration, making it less effective. In some situations that can become very serious, even dangerous to the people who are counting on those components. One example might be a scanner that looks for explosives. If this scanner is vibrating too much and picking up erroneous sounds, for example, the soldier might miss a device and may be injured or even killed because of it. It is important that the most sensitive pieces of equipment be protected from the very forces that can damage them, even if those forces are created from inside of the component.
Sorbothane Might Be the Vibration Reduction System
Sorbothane is a visco-elastic polymer material with properties of both a liquid and a solid. It flows like a liquid but has the strength of a solid at the same time. It has a higher temperature threshold, meaning that it can be used in areas where the temperature can become excessive such as within a jet engine.
There are dozens of military and similar applications where this type of material can be used as an effective vibration reduction system. For instance, it can be used in the soldier’s boots to reduce the amount of vibration that they feel while marching. It can be used as a recoil pad to protect them while firing weapons. It can also be used as part of a noise reduction system in a tank or a plane or a helicopter. That is not to say that Sorbothane is used in any military application, and that information would be classified, but the possibility certainly exists. If you want to learn more about how this revolutionary material could work for you, download our Standard Products Guide today.