Many systems have, by their nature, a small damping and therefore they are potentially subjected to dangerous vibration phenomena. The aim of active vibration control is to contain this phenomenon, improve the dynamic performance of the system, and increase its fatigue strength. A way to reach this goal is to increase the system damping, preferably without changing its natural frequencies and vibration modes. In the past decades this has been achieved by developing the well-known independent modal space control (IMSC) technique. The paper describes a new approach to the synthesis of a modal controller to suppress vibrations in structures. It turns from the traditional formulation of the problem and it demonstrates how the performance of the controller can be evaluated through the analysis of the modal damping matrix of the controlled system. The ability to easily manage this information allows us to synthesize an efficient modal controller. Furthermore, it enables us to easily evaluate the stability of the control, the effects of spillover, and the consequent effectiveness in reducing vibration. Theoretical aspects are supported by experimental applications on a large flexible system.

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