What is Vibration Damping?

Mary McMahon

Vibration damping is technology which is used to reduce the amount of vibration in a system. This technology can be used in a wide variety of settings for vibration control. For specialty applications, engineers can design a custom vibration damping system, while in other instances, people may use generic systems and products which can be fitted as kits to work with the system.

Man with a drill
Man with a drill

This type of vibration control is different from vibration isolation and vibration canceling. In all cases, the goal is to address the oscillations which characterize vibration, and may also cause sounds as well. The control method which is most effective and appropriate varies, depending on the needs of the system and the way in which the system is used.

With vibration damping, the goal is to reduce vibration with shock absorption and other techniques. For example, on a factory floor, vibration damping tiles might be used as flooring to absorb the vibration from the equipment. Likewise, padding and other types of insulation can be fitted onto or around equipment to minimize the amount of vibration which occurs. Specialized damping mounts can also be used to fit equipment to the floor, bench, or wall in a way which will reduce vibration. Specific types of vibration can also be addressed with particular damping fittings.

One reason to use vibration damping is for worker health, safety, and comfort. Being in an environment with a lot of vibration can be unpleasant and potentially dangerous; heavy machinery can contribute, for example, to hearing loss. By damping, companies can make work environments safer. This reduces the risk of employee injury and helps companies retain employees by demonstrating that they are committed to a healthy workplace.

Another reason is to protect equipment. Sustained vibration can cause damage which will vary in nature, but which can cause abnormal wear which leads to malfunction or breakage. Very sensitive equipment needs special vibration protection to prevent misregistration, malfunctions, inaccurate measurement, and other problems. Vibration damping in this case keeps equipment in better condition, cutting down on maintenance and replacement costs.

The needs of every system are different. It can help to consult an engineer to discuss the vibration damping needs of a particular system, with the engineer evaluating the situation on the basis of the equipment used, how it is being used, and so forth. She or he can make specific recommendations which will address the major needs of the system.

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Discussion Comments


@Tomislav - Since you are not looking for anything fancy, I can tell you that my friend who is also looking to do the same thing is trying his pads in the corners of the room, up near the ceiling, to try and round the corners (and room) out.

We are going to try this and see how it sounds when we record. Since we aren't anywhere near engineer status we are just trying different thicknesses and placements and then seeing how much vibration dampening occurs.


I am trying to 'deaden' the sound in a room so I can make a recording of my music. Nothing fancy, but I had heard certain materials such as vibration damping pads could help.

Anybody have any suggestions for where to put the materials?

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