Vibration : Measure Acceleration, Velocity or Displacement?

When using vibration data, especially in conjunction with modelling systems, the measured data is often needed as an acceleration, as a velocity and as a displacement. Sometimes different analysis groups require the measured signals in a different form. Clearly, it is impractical to measure all three at once even if we could. Physically it is nigh on impossible to put three different types of transducer in the same place.

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Converting Acceleration, Velocity & Displacement

From time to time I meet engineers who are interested in the conversions between acceleration, velocity and displacement. Often, they have measured acceleration, but are interested in displacement or vice versa. Equally, velocity is often used to find acceleration. This article outlines the nature of the conversion between these units and will suggest the preferred method for doing so. .

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Calculating Velocity Or Displacement From Acceleration Time Histories

It is quite straightforward to apply “classical” integration techniques to calculate either a velocity time history from an acceleration time history or the corresponding displacement time history from a velocity time history. The standard method is to calculate the area under the curve of the appropriate trace. If the curve follows a known deterministic function then a numerically exact solution can be found; if it follows a non-deterministic function then an approximate solution can be found by using numerical integration techniques such as rectangular or trapezoidal integration. Measured or digitized data falls in to the latter category. However, if the data contains even a small amount of low frequency or DC offset components then these can often lead to misleading (although numerically correct) results. The problem is not caused by loss of information inherent in the digitisation process; neither is it due to the effects of amplitude or time quantisation; it is in fact a characteristic of integrated trigonometric functions that their amplitudes increase with decreasing frequency.

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Acceleration, Velocity & Displacement Spectra – Omega Arithmetic

Accelerometers are robust, simple to use and readily available transducers. Measuring velocity and displacement directly is not simple. In a laboratory test rig we could use one of the modern potentiometer or LVDT transducers to measure absolute displacement directly as static reference points are available. But on a moving vehicle this is not possible.

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Torsional Vibration, Tacho Pulses And Aliasing

With shafts, gears and the like, the general method of determining the rotational speed is to use some form of tachometer or shaft encoder. These give out a pulse at regular angular intervals. It we have N pulses per rev then obviously we have a pulse every (360/N) degrees. Determining the speed is nominally very simple: just measure the time between successive pulses. If this period is Tk seconds and the angle travelled is (360/ N) degrees then the rotational speed is simply estimated by 360/(N*Tk) degrees/second or 60/(N*Tk) rpm.


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