Identification of bolted joints through laser vibrometry

X. Ma*, L. Bergman, A. Vakakis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present a new technique for identifying the dynamics of bolted joints. The technique relies on the comparison of the overall dynamics of the bolted structure to that of a similar but unbolted one. The difference in the dynamics of the two systems can be attributed solely to the joint; modelling this difference in the dynamics enables us to construct a non-parametric model for the joint dynamics. Non-contacting, laser vibrometry is utilized to experimentally measure the structural responses with increased accuracy and to perform scans of the structural modes at fixed frequency. A numerical algorithm is then developed to post-process the experimental data and identify the joint force. Theoretical calculations are first used to validate the technique, which is then utilized to identify a practical joint. Experimental force-displacement plots at the joint reveal clear hysteresis loops which, in turn, can be used to estimate the damping dissipation at the joint. Moreover, experimental frequency responses and scans of the mode shapes of the bolted structure reveal non-proportional damping and non-linear effects due to microimpacts of the connected beams at the bolted joint.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-460
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Sound and Vibration
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sept 2001


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