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The method of Modal Strain Energy (MSE) enables predictions of modal loss factors for vibrating systems from finite element analyses without evaluation of a complex-valued frequency response or a complex-valued frequency. While the method is simple, some error results; especially if the dissipative material has the high loss factor characteristic of materials added to increase system damping. Several methods for reducing this error through modifications to MSE have been suggested. In this work, the exact loss factor for a simple mechanical system is found. The method of Modal Strain Energy (MSE) is then used to find the loss factor for that prototype system and errors are evaluated in terms of system parameters. Comparisons are also made to predictions with several modifications to MSE. A modification due to Rongong is found to provide significant improvement. The use of this modification together with MSE is shown to lead to lower and upper bounds for the system loss factor. As the prototype system is shown to be mechanically equivalent to constrained layer damping configurations, the findings are applicable to the analysis and design of optimized sandwich beams, plates, and damping tapes. Results are given for beams and plates with constrained layer treatments.


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Shock and Vibration