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Advances in Acoustics and Vibration
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 681787, 19 pages
Research Article

The Dynamics of a Ringing Church Bell

Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1PZ, UK

Received 29 October 2012; Accepted 30 November 2012

Academic Editor: Emil Manoach

Copyright © 2012 J. Woodhouse et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Church bell ringing as practised in the UK involves large-amplitude motions of both bell and clapper. A simulation model is developed and validated against experimental measurements. It is shown that the clapper does not hit the bell with a single impact but a long series of bounces, and this has important consequences for the decay profile of the bell vibration. Information relevant to bell-ringers and bell-hangers is collected in a series of design charts derived from the simulation model. These charts can assist in the diagnosis and correction of faults. Arising from the analysis of the bouncing clapper, a more general result is also presented relating to the frequency bandwidth when any structure is excited by a small bouncing impactor, for example an impulse hammer used in vibration testing.