Vibrations: Understand the Dynamics of a Washing Machine

Do you find it surprising that your washing machine starts to vibrate vigorously at a certain rotational speed? Why does this happen, and what can you do to avoid it? In this lab, we will analyze the cause of these vibrations and tweak certain parameters to see if they can be minimized.

Model of the Washing Machine

The washing machine is modeled with a spring and a damper. The spring represents the stiffness and the damper represents the capacity to attenuate vibrations.
Model of the washing machine.

Analyze the Vibrations

The machine starts from rest and as it builds up speed, it starts to vibrate. At around 6 seconds, it reaches the resonance frequency and vibrates vigorously.
Animation of the washing machine. The blue curve shows the vertical motion of the washing machine. The orange curve shows the rotational speed in RPM.

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