Several incompatibilities exist between analytical models and experimentally obtained data for many systems. In particular finite element analysis (FEA) modeling often produces analytical modal data that does not agree with measured modal data from experimental modal analysis (EMA). These two methods account for the majority of activity in vibration modeling used in industry. The existence of these discrepancies has spanned the discipline of model updating as summarized in the review articles by Inman (1990), Imregun (1991), and Friswell (1995). In this situation the analytical model is characterized by a large number of degrees of freedom (and hence modes), ad hoc damping mechanisms and real eigenvectors (mode shapes). The FEM model produces a mass, damping and stiffness matrix which is numerically solved for modal data consisting of natural frequencies, mode shapes and damping ratios. Common practice is to compare this analytically generated modal data with natural frequencies, mode shapes and damping ratios obtained from EMA. The EMA data is characterized by a small number of modes, incomplete and complex mode shapes and non proportional damping. It is very common in practice for this experimentally obtained modal data to be in minor disagreement with the analytically derived modal data. The point of view taken is that the analytical model is in error and must be refined or corrected based on experimented data.

The approach proposed here is to use the results of inverse eigenvalue problems to develop methods for model updating for damped systems. The inverse problem has been addressed by Lancaster and Maroulas (1987), Starek and Inman (1992,1993,1994,1997) and is summarized for undamped systems in the text by Gladwell (1986).

There are many sophisticated model updating methods available. The purpose of this paper is to introduce using inverse eigenvalues calculated as a possible approach to solving the model updating problem. The approach is new and as such many of the practical and important issues of noise, incomplete data, etc. are not yet resolved. Hence, the method introduced here is only useful for low order lumped parameter models of the type used for machines rather than structures. In particular, it will be assumed that the entries and geometry of the lumped components is also known.

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