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NATURAL FREQUENCIES OF COMPOSITE BEAMS

By Tom Irvine
Email: tomirvine@aol.com
August 1, 2000
___________________________________________________________________________________

Beam Simply-Supported at Both Ends


The method in this report is based on Reference 1.
Consider a simply-supported beam with length L, as shown in Figure 1. The cross-section
consists of two materials, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 1.

a E1 , I 1 Direction
of vibration

b E2 , I2

Figure 2.

1
The fundamental bending frequency for a beam simply-supported at both ends is

EI
fn = (1)
2 L2

where
E is the modulus of elasticity.
I is the area moment of inertia.
is the mass density, mass per length.

Example
Consider a simply-supported laminated beam, with the cross-section shown in Figure 3.

1.25 in

0.40 in Epoxy Fiberglass


Direction
of vibration

Y
0.60 in Aluminum

Figure 3.

The material properties are given in Table 1.

Table 1. Material Properties

Material [
E lbf / in 2 ] [
m lbm / in 3 ]
Epoxy 6 0.065
2.0 (10 )
Fiberglass
Aluminum 6 0.100
10.0 (10 )

2
The center of mass of each material is referenced to the bottom side of the lower section.
Let Y be the center of mass for each section.

Y1 = 0.80 inch, for epoxy section

Y2 = 0.30 inch, for aluminum section

Now calculate an overall centroid Y , weighted in terms of the product of area and elastic
modulus.

Table 2. AE Centroid
Section Area E AE Y AEY
(in 2 ) (lbf / in 2 ) (lbf) (in) (lbf in)
Epoxy 0.50 6 6 0.80 5
2.0 (10 ) 1.0 (10 ) 8.0 (10 )
Fiberglass
Aluminum 0.75 6 6 0.30 6
10.0 (10 ) 7.5 (10 ) 2.25 (10 )
Total 6 6
8.5 (10 ) 3.05 (10 )

Y=
AEY (2)
AE
3.05 (106 ) lbf in
Y= (3)
8.5 (106 ) lbf

Y = 0.359 inch AE centroid (4)

Now let c equal the distance from the center of mass to the overall AE centroid.
For the epoxy section,

c1 = Y y1 (5)

c1 = 0.359 0.800 (6)

c1 = 0.441 inch (7)

3
For the aluminum section,

c2 = Y y 2 (8)

c 2 = 0.359 0.300 (9)

c 2 = 0.059 inch (10)

The area moment of inertia for a rectangular section is

I=
1
12
[base [
] height 3 ] (11)

For the epoxy section,

I1 =
1
12
[1.25 [
] 0.40 3 ] in 4 (12)

I1 = 0.0067 in 4 (13)

For the aluminum section,

I2 =
1
12
[1.25 [
] 0.60 3 ] in 4 (14)

I 2 = 0.0225 in 4 (15)

The composite stiffness EI requires two terms, as calculated in Table 2 and in the
following equations.

Table 3. Composite Stiffness


c2 AEc 2 E Io Eo Io

(in 2 ) (lbf in 2 ) ( )
Section c AE lbf / in 2 (in 4 ) (lbf in 2 )
(in ) (lbf)
Epoxy 0.441 0.194 6 5 6 0.0067 4
1.0 (10 ) 1.94 (10 ) 2 (10 ) 1.34 (10 )
Alum. 0.059 0.0035 6 4 6 0.0225 5
7.5 (10 ) 2.61 (10 ) 10 (10 ) 2.25 (10 )
Total 5 5
2.20 (10 ) 2.384 (10 )

4
The composite beam stiffness factor EI is

EI = AEc 2 + E o Io (16)

EI = 2.20 (10 5 ) + 2.384 (10 5) (lbf in 2 ) (17)

5
EI = 4.58 (10 ) (lbf in 2 ) (18)

Perform a unit conversion.

EI = 4.58 (10 5) [lbf in 2 ] lbfslugssecft2 321.slug


2 lbm 12 in

ft
(19)

lbm in 3
EI = 1.77 (10 8 ) (20)

sec 2

The mass per length for the epoxy fiberglass section is

lbm
1 = 0.065 [1.25 in ][
0.40 in ] (21)
in 3

lbm
1 = 0.033 (22)
in

The mass per length for the aluminum section is

lbm
2 = 0.100 [1.25 in ][
0.60 in ] (23)
in 3

lbm
2 = 0.075 (24)
in

5
The composite mass per length is

= 1 + 2 (25)

lbm lbm
= 0.033 + 0.075 (26)
in in

lbm
= 0.108 (27)
in

Furthermore, let the length be L = 20 inch.

EI
fn = (28)
2 L2

lbm in 3
1.77 (10 8 )

sec
2

fn = (29)
2[
20 in ]2 lbm
0.108
in

f n = 159.0 Hz (30)

Reference
1. Dave Steinberg, Vibration Analysis for Electronic Equipment, Second Edition, Wiley,
New York, 1988.