It is relatively well known that axial loads tend to influence lateral stiffness and hence natural frequencies of slender structural components. Tensile forces tend to increase the lateral stiffness and compressive forces tend to reduce lateral stiffness, bringing with it the possibility of buckling. In many practical situations this is a negligible effect. But for very slender structures it can be important, including the effect of self-weight. This paper will focus attention on a form of double cantilever beam system, i.e., two cantilevers sharing a common hub. A differential axial load can be applied to this system via orientation in a gravitational field. We shall neglect the effect of gravity when the beams are in their horizontal orientation from a limited theoretical standpoint. It is of course present in the experiments but the cantilevers are much stiffer in one direction than the other, and the beams are clamped with their stiffer resistance in the vertical direction. The focus of the current paper is on the natural frequencies and mode shapes of a two-beam system from an experimental modal analysis perspective.

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