In this paper a multi-segment beam, in what is called an inertial four-point loaded configuration, is proposed and its dynamic response is analyzed. In this configuration, two symmetrical overhanging free segments extend beyond the pinned supports, and two tip masses are attached to these free segments yielding symmetrical inertial loading at the tips. By varying the configuration parameters of this multi-segment beam, such as support locations and tip loading, the dynamic response of the system can be significantly altered. The harmonically excited transverse vibration of a piezocomposite beam with four-point loaded boundary conditions is analyzed as a function of the support location and tip mass. Experimental data for several support locations is presented for validation of the analytical model and the predicted relationship between the system natural frequency, support locations, and tip masses. Comparisons are also made between the multi-point loaded cases and a reference cantilevered beam. The analytical and experimental results demonstrate that the natural frequency of a multi-point loaded beam can be continuously adjusted in a relatively wide range using the configuration changes investigated.

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