It is difficult to estimate the inherent level of damping in structures, piping, and subsea equipment, but improving damping characteristics can extend performance life, according to Jan Wigaard of Vetco Aibel. "Structural damping seems to be the forgotten design factor," he said.
Wigaard shared his views on the importance of including damping in the design stage of development work at the Offshore Mechanics and Arctic Engineering conference in Greece.
There is general agreement about the value of considering damping at the design phase, Wigaard said, but accurately calculating damping is a challenge. "Guesstimates of damping can easily be off by a factor of nearly two," he said.
Vetco Aibel invested in structural damping research and has made significant progress toward accurately determining and improving damping characteristics, Wigaard said.
Adding structural damping considerations during design is feasible for many applications, Wigaard said, and there can be a significant return on the investment. Improved damping characteristics add robustness, increase fatigue life, reduce uncertainties in response prediction, and reduce the risk of resonant vibrations, he said.
Wigaard stated his desire to see structural damping become a design requirement, noting that it is relatively inexpensive at the design stage and yields considerable value when applied.