Evaluating Theoretical Models of Vibration Modes of Rockets in Flight

Overview

Vibrational modes affect the performance of rocket hardware, thus these modes need to be studied and thoroughly comprehended for safer and more effective flights. A 1971 NASA study concluded that the “vibration/acoustic launch environment [was] estimated to account for 30 to 60 percent of the first-day space failures". This study focuses on testing mathematical and experimental models to estimate the vibration frequencies of the rocket during flight and compare these models to real flight. The study of these frequency estimation methods provides valuable insight into processes that can be used to model the vibration frequency of rockets during flight and the accuracy of the model.

The modelling portion of this project required the creation of a simplified analytical model and a finite element analysis of the rockets bending modes. The experimental component of this project required the choice of sensors, development of circuits, and data analysis. Sensors used include strain gauges, piezoelectric vibration sensors, and a 6-DOF IMU.

This project is a final, group project completed for an Experimental Engineering course at Harvey Mudd College. Collaborators on this project are Huting Lin, Andrea Lupini, and Lydia Scharff.

Technical Report

A full technical report for the project is shown below.

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