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What is Damping Co-efficient of a Material?

Updated: Jun 29

How is Damping used to improve noise and vibrations in our products?

Damping in daily life

Do you remember the feeling of exhilaration and astonishment when you witnessed your first Bicycle kick in a football game? Or being awestruck by the sheer dribbling talent of Michael Jordon as he dunked the basketball? Physics is everywhere and at play even when we don’t realize it, it is in all of these moments. These moments are also great to showcase the unconscious use of Damping at work.

Damping: Definition and Usecases

What is Damping? Well, Damping is all about oscillations and vibrations, with each successful oscillation, the object loses its energy and finally stops vibrating. In simple words, Damping is the shock and vibration absorption capability of a material, like the ball in the above examples. If you freely release a basketball or football, you find that they eventually come to a standstill after multiple bounces. That is because these tend to have a low damping coefficient. The coefficient of damping is any material’s property, dependent on its nature to retain energy and continue its motion (oscillatory in case of a basketball) or to absorb the energy transmitted to it.

Damping is a critical property of any material and is taken into account by mechanical engineers every day, example, an automotive company trying to reduce the noise caused due to vibrations in their engine, improve the safety of the driver during an impact by using high damping materials for the steering wheel, reduce vibration intensity to improve experience and accuracy of the handheld power tools users, safeguard internal electronics when a user drops his laptop, the list is endless.

Energies of all kinds can be absorbed and hence different objects prove useful in damping different energy vibrations. Materials that exhibit higher values of damping coefficients are used for purposes like shock absorption (similar to cricket pads or the airbags in your car), vibration control, noise reduction (for daily purpose you see your headphone paddings help you avoid sound), and dissipating increased heat.

Fun Fact: Even nuclear reactors use a certain damper (technically a neutron moderator), which is the compound D2O, commonly known as heavy water. Excited neutrons are passed through this D2O solution to reduce their energy and facilitate the desired reaction.

High Damping Materials

As per various studies, the most preferred damping material of our times has been Magnesium Alloys. This is because, in addition to having high damping properties, Magnesium Alloys are also lightweight and as seen in a previous article, light-weighting leads to product optimization. Magnesium has proven itself to be a metal alloy for future hardware designs and products. The most commonly used and affordable Magnesium Alloys for damping use cases are AZ91, AM50 and AM60. Long fiber thermoplastics, Synthetic rubbers, and polymers are also a good material option for damping use cases.

However, LFT, synthetic rubbers, and polymers fail to dissipate energy with similar effectiveness as Magnesium alloys would.

Want to learn more about how Magnesium Alloys can help with vibration damping for your product or application? Request a quote from Exclusive Magnesium Pvt. Ltd. today.

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