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(Officers on deck watch onboard training program)

Nauryzbek Bekpembetov
MEO4B, 01698-11

Vibration is an incredibly common phenomenon. It is everywhere. Without vibration we
cannot speak, musical instruments won`t produce any sound. This kind of vibrations are normal for
us, because we get used to this sounds. But vibrations of mechanical systems are another part of
Vibrations are the integral part of every machinery which make mechanical motions on board
ship. Vibrations in mechanical machines defined as the result of periodic or random oscillations
about an equilibrium point. These vibrations can be serious or benign. Benign vibrations can be
nearly neglected.
In general there are two main types of serious vibration: natural and forced.

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Fig, 1: General types of vibration on mechanical machinery.

Causes of vibration are: unbalanced forces in machine, external forces as wind and waves,
elastic nature of the system.
Effects of vibration
In some cases vibrations are useful, i.e. tuning fork, vibrosieve, mobile phones, speakers and
etc. But on board the ship vibrations are mostly undesirable. There are various sources of vibration,
which make various kind of vibration. The effects of a vibration vary greatly, from inconvenience to
body, to the fatigue and stress of structure and machinery. High levels of vibration (e.g. 2-stroke
main engine, gas turbine) lead to malfunction or even collapse of machines and structure, piping
failure, poor equipment reliability, waste of energy, safety concerns and may become the source of
pain for humans.
Vibration characteristics
Vibration can be characterized by the next parameters:
Amplitude of oscillation the distance between the
maximum displacement and the central line a
(Fig, 2).
Period period of time T, taken to complete one cycle.
Frequency it is the meaning opposite to period,
frequency of oscillation determined as a numbers of an
oscillation in one second or minute.
Shape of vibration shape of the curve on vibrogramm
or modes of vibration.

Fig, 2. Vibrogramm of a harmonic oscillation.

Distribution of the amplitudes of an oscillation is non-uniform along the length of the ship,
and it depends on the frequency and shape of the natural oscillation. So, the area which is not
affected to vibration is called as node, and the area with maximum amplitude antinode (Fig,3).

Fig, 3. Vibration modes:

1 2 node, 2 3node, 3 4 node, 4 5 node, 5 6 node, 6 resultant mode of 5 modes,
a antinode, b node.

Application of number of nodes and antinodes in ships design and hull vibration.
In some cases by ballasting and de-ballasting of tanks or shifting the cargo we can decrease
the vibration. By these actions we can change the natural vibration of the ship and avoid the zone of
resonance. So, to decrease the frequency of natural oscillation, the additional weight should be
added at antinode, and to increase the frequency remove some weight. Change of the weight on the
nodes doesn`t effect on the frequency of oscillations (Fig,4).

Fig, 4. Distribution of nodes and antinodes along the length of the ship, 3-node.
(a ballast tanks, b- Maine engine)

Vibration modes on the main engine and propeller is shown in Fig, 5. These are conventional
aft end engines with 5 cylinders. They has a 1-node torsional vibration. Usually resonance take
place between minimum and maximum speed of the engine, mainly depends on the length and the
diameter of the shaft system (Fig,5).

Fig, 5. Vibration modes on two different engines.

Three forms of mechanical vibrations with examples from ship
When machinery is operating there are basically 3 types of vibrations that act on it:
longitudinal vibration, axial vibration (transverse) and torsional vibration (Fig, 6).
Longitudinal vibration the vibration,
where crankshaft compresses and tenses
alternately along the axis of the shaft.
Axial vibration the vibration, when
shaft moves perpendicular to its axis. In this
case shaft straighten and bends repeatedly.
Torsional vibration the vibration,
when the particles of shaft move around the
shaft axis. It leads to twisting and untwisting
of the shaft alternatively.
Fig, 6. Types of vibration.
Natural vibration, forced vibration and resonance
Two general classes of vibrations are: natural (free) and forced. Natural vibration takes place
when a system oscillates after the effect of forces an keeps oscillating after removing the forces
(e.g. common pendulum). This oscillation quenches after some time. The system under free
vibration can vibrate at one or more of its natural frequencies of oscillation.
Forced vibration takes place under the excitation of external forces. The system will vibrate at
the frequency of excitation force, when the excitation is oscillatory. For example, downward
movement of piston after combustion will produce
exciting force on the shaft system.
When one of the natural frequency of the
system coincides with the frequency of excitation
force, resonance will occur (Fig, 7), which may
cause dangerously large oscillations. As a result of
resonance can be the fatigue stress or even the failure
of the material.
Critical speed and remedies to minimize the effect of critical speed.
The speed of engine at which its frequency coincides with the frequency of natural
oscillations and cause the resonance condition is called as a critical speed. The critical speed varies
for different kind of engines. It depends on the structure of the ship (natural vibration), speed of
engine, length of the shaft, number of cylinders and etc. Usually ship designers build a ship so that
the critical speed will be less or more than the operating speed. But it can vary due to the cargo,
ballast, waves, changing of trim, which all of these make change on the natural frequency. In Fig, 5

two types of engine with different shaft lengths and diameters are shown. By the diagram it is seen,
that critical speed when resonance occurs differs. So, to make the critical speed at low speed, we
need have a long and more elastic shaft. With shorter shaft the critical speed take place at higher
rpm. As higher the rpm, the amplitude of resonance will be higher. To reduce the resonance effect
dampers are used. So, we can minimize the effect of critical speed by changing the design of
engine, adding dampers, shifting the loads and other parameters which can change either natural or
engine frequencies.
Damping of vibration
The reduction of the amplitude over every cycle of vibration is said to be damped vibration.
There are two kinds of damping the vibration: external and internal.
External damping separate dampers are used to reduce the vibration. The motion of shaft
will be opposed by dampers and the energy will be dissipated in friction. The effect of using a
damper is shown in Fig, 5 (Solution B).
Internal damping is obtained by the internal structural property of material and dimensions
(larger the diameter, larger the moment of resistance). It shows the material`s capacity to absorb the
Torsional vibrations
Torsional vibrations appear as the result of the variable speed of shafting rotation (Fig, 8). In
compare to other types of vibrations, torsional vibrations are invisible. Though, this kind of
vibration may cause serious damages, including shafting fractures.
Torsional vibrations become as a result of a number of
processes. Some of them are:
- Variable gas pressure in the cylinder of and engine;
- Inertial forces of a crankshaft;
- Sea water flow around the propeller
- Firing orders on engine.
Fig, 8. Torsional
Identify vibration of main engine and shafting from bridge
Vibrations of big machineries as a main engine, turbocharger and gas turbine transfer to the
structure of the ship. As higher the level of vibration, as higher it will reach through the structure up
to the bridge. The highest level of vibration occurs at resonant conditions, and it produces the noise
and vibration of whole structure. So, the high level of vibrations can be identified from the bridge
by human senses only. But as we said, that even the vibration is not visible it may be dangerous.
That`s why, nowadays, some devices for identifying the vibrations such as strain gauge, velocity
pickups, mechanical and piezo-electric accelerometers are in use. So the deck officers on bridge can
identify the type of vibration, its amplitude, frequency of oscillation and take pre-action to avoid or
reduce the effect of critical speed.

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