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Shock and Vibration
Volume 19, Issue 3, Pages 433-446

Time-Varying Uncertainty in Shock and Vibration Applications Using the Impulse Response

J.B. Weathers1 and Rogelio Luck2

1Shock, Noise, and Vibration Group, Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, Pascagoula, MS, USA
2Department of Mechanical Engineering, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS, USA

Received 3 November 2010; Revised 21 February 2011

Copyright © 2012 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. 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.


Design of mechanical systems often necessitates the use of dynamic simulations to calculate the displacements (and their derivatives) of the bodies in a system as a function of time in response to dynamic inputs. These types of simulations are especially prevalent in the shock and vibration community where simulations associated with models having complex inputs are routine. If the forcing functions as well as the parameters used in these simulations are subject to uncertainties, then these uncertainties will propagate through the models resulting in uncertainties in the outputs of interest. The uncertainty analysis procedure for these kinds of time-varying problems can be challenging, and in many instances, explicit data reduction equations (DRE's), i.e., analytical formulas, are not available because the outputs of interest are obtained from complex simulation software, e.g. FEA programs. Moreover, uncertainty propagation in systems modeled using nonlinear differential equations can prove to be difficult to analyze. However, if (1) the uncertainties propagate through the models in a linear manner, obeying the principle of superposition, then the complexity of the problem can be significantly simplified. If in addition, (2) the uncertainty in the model parameters do not change during the simulation and the manner in which the outputs of interest respond to small perturbations in the external input forces is not dependent on when the perturbations are applied, then the number of calculations required can be greatly reduced. Conditions (1) and (2) characterize a Linear Time Invariant (LTI) uncertainty model. This paper seeks to explain one possible approach to obtain the uncertainty results based on these assumptions.