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What is the Damping Coefficient of Materials?

February 03, 2015

A damping coefficient is a material property that indicates whether a material will bounce back or return energy to a system. For example, a basketball has a low damping coefficient (a good bounce back). If the bounce is caused by an unwanted vibration or shock, a high damping coefficient in the material will diminish the response. It will swallow the energy and reduce the undesired reaction.

How is a damping coefficient used?

Such measures are required when evaluating material and system responses to dynamic loading conditions. Materials with high damping coefficients are used in applications of shock absorption, vibration control, noise reduction, and dissipating increased heat. Engineers use damping coefficients to compare materials to see which will be the best one for the application. This number describes the behavior of the material in a damped system.

Where do I get the damping coefficient number of the material I have?

Check with the manufacturer of the material. They should be able to provide this number for you. The vendor’s numbers should be used whenever possible.

Which material has a good damping coefficient?

Sorbothane has a superior damping coefficient, over a very wide temperature range, compared to any other polymer. It is a viscoelastic polymer that flows like a liquid under load. It combines shock absorption, good memory, vibration isolation and vibration damping characteristics. While many other materials exhibit one of these characteristics, Sorbothane combines all of them in a stable material with a long fatigue life over a very wide temperature range. No synthetic rubber or polymer can dissipate energy as effectively. It can be used in a wide variety of applications to reduce excessive vibration, dissipate increased heat, or reduce the strain and stress of using a machine for the operator. It is easy to cut to size so it easily can be fitted to any application. Sorbothane is very tolerant of temperature changes and can be used in extreme temperatures. It is also tolerant of most chemicals, so it may be used in environments that many other damping materials cannot.

What are some applications of Sorbothane?

Sorbothane is very versatile. Some of the ways Sorbothane has been used include:

  • Insoles for runners
  • Tool handle wraps to lessen the strain and fatigue of the craftsman
  • Audio noise reduction
  • Shock/vibration mounts
  • Packaging for electronics
  • Floor mats to cushion against damage to items dropped
  • Lining the walls of acoustic test chambers and wave tanks.
  • Protection for the NASA shuttle camera during launch
  • Protection for the historic Liberty Bell during relocation
  • Shock absorbing pad for baseball gloves
  • Damping for displacing of wind energy and prevention of destructive oscillation during the construction of the 270 feet high Air Force Memorial
  • Shock absorption and recoil reduction for gun owners
  • Protection from drop shock damage in hand held devices such as bar code scanners, PDAs, cell phones and portable medical devices.
  • Sorbothane isolators are found in desktops, laptops and wearable PCs.
  • Isolation feet for system components such as CD/DVD players and speaker

Want to learn more about how Sorbothane can help with vibration damping for your product or application? Request a quote from Sorbothane today.