The Bifilar Pendulum: Numerical Solution to the Exact Equation of Motion

[+] Author and Article Information
B. E. Karlin, C. J. Maday

Dept. of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7910

J. Vib., Acoust., Stress, and Reliab 107(2), 175-179 (Apr 01, 1985) (5 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3269241 History: Received June 18, 1984; Online November 23, 2009


The bifilar pendulum is often used for indirect measurements of mass moments of inertia of bodies that possess complex geometries. The exact equation of motion of the bifilar pendulum is highly nonlinear, and has not been solved in terms of elementary functions. Extensive use has been made, however, of the linearized approximation to the exact equation, and it has been assumed that the simple harmonic oscillator adequately describes the motion of the bifilar pendulum. It is shown here that such is generally not the case. Numerical solutions to the exact nonlinear differential equations of motion are obtained for a range of values of initial angular displacement, filament length, and radius of gyration. The filament length and the radius of gyration are normalized with respect to the half-spacing between the filaments. It is shown that the approximate solution gives good results only for small ranges of the system parameters.

Copyright © 1985 by ASME
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