The Science of Vibration Control

Vibration control, or "isolation," as it is often called, is a science, not a guessing game.

The fact that vibration can and does affect the performance of sensitive circuitry doesn't have to be proven; it's a known and accepted fact. Shake any circuit hard enough and its performance will suffer. The more delicate the signals involved, the more critical the application of isolation and drainage devices becomes. In high-end audio and video, the critical thresholds of discernible distortion are being lowered daily, as the resolution capabilities of modern equipment soars.

But how should one approach vibration control? Is it just a matter of "softening" the vibration from the outside world? Most people have experienced driving on a winding, bumpy road in a car with a soft suspension and in a car with a stiff suspension. The stiff suspension gives better control over the car, while the soft suspension gives a smoother ride. Stiff or soft? It depends on the driver, and his or her purpose in the car. If it's just to preserve your derriére, you'll prefer the soft suspension. If you want to control the car better, however, the stiff suspension is the way to go. It's fairly straightforward if you want one or the other. But what if you want both? That's a little more difficult to achieve.

There's a parallel to this simple analogy in the world of vibration control, because there are two approaches and disciplines which must be mastered in order to realize our goal of theoretically vibration-free operation. They are each equally important; we call them drainage and isolation.

In the future, we plan to develop and improve this section with a more-or-less comprehensive analysis of the issues and aspects of vibration control. Please check back periodically for updates. Meanwhile, we offer the following initial pages for your edification and consideration, and suggest you start with the introductory discussion about Symposium concepts of isolation and vibration control.