Actively tuned solid-state vibration absorber using capacitive shunting of piezoelectric stiffness

Christopher L. Davis, George A. Lesieutre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

244 Scopus citations


A tunable solid-state piezoelectric vibration absorber and an active tuning method were developed and demonstrated. A passive vibration absorber generally acts to minimize structural vibration at a specific frequency associated with either a tonal disturbance or a lightly damped structural vibration mode. Because this frequency is rarely stationary in real applications, damping is usually added to ensure some level of effectiveness over a range of frequencies. Maximum response reductions, however, are achieved only if the absorber is lightly damped and accurately tuned to frequency of concern. Thus, an actively tuned vibration absorber should perform better than a passive one and, furthermore, could be made lighter. In its simplest form, a vibration absorber consists of a spring-mass combination. A key feature of the tunable vibration absorber described herein is the use of piezoelectric ceramic elements as part of the device stiffness. The effective stiffnesses of these elements were adjusted electrically, using a passive capacitive shunt circuit, to tune the resonance frequency of the device. The tuning range of the absorber is thus bounded by its short- and open-circuit resonance frequencies. An alternative tuning approach might employ resistive shunting, but this would introduce undesirable damping. Another feature of the device is the ability to use the piezoelectric elements as sensors. A control scheme was developed to estimate the desired tuning frequency from the sensor signals, to determine the appropriate shunt capacitance, and then to provide it. The shunt circuit itself was implemented in 10 discrete steps over the tuning range, using a relay-driven parallel capacitor ladder circuit. Experimental results showed a 20 dB maximum, and a 10 dB average improvement in vibration reduction across the tuning range, as compared to a pure passive absorber tuned to the center frequency, with additional benefit extending beyond the tuning range.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)601-617
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Sound and Vibration
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 4 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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