A common approximation in the analysis of non-classically damped systems is to ignore the off-diagonal elements of the modal damping matrix. This procedure is termed the decoupling approximation. It is generally believed that errors due to the decoupling approximation should be negligible if the modal damping matrix is diagonally dominant. In addition, the errors are expected to decrease as the modal damping matrix becomes more diagonally dominant. It is shown numerically in this paper that, over a finite range, errors due to the decoupling approximation can increase monotonically at any specified rate while the modal damping matrix becomes more diagonally dominant with its off-diagonal elements decreasing continuously in magnitude. These unexpected drifts in errors due to the decoupling approximation can be observed at any driving frequency. Small off-diagonal elements in the modal damping matrix may not be sufficient to ensure small errors due to the decoupling approximation. Error-criteria based solely upon diagonal dominance of the modal damping matrix cannot be accurate.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.