Development of a Low Cost Automatic Modal Hammer for Applications in Substructuring

  • Johannes MaierhoferEmail author
  • Ahmed El Mahmoudi
  • Daniel J. Rixen
Conference paper
Part of the Conference Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Mechanics Series book series (CPSEMS)


One key goal of Dynamic Substructuring (DS) is the coupling of measured components and simulated ones. This can be done using a frequency-based formulation of the system dynamics. For the experimental determination of the components dynamics, good and reliable measurements are extremely important to achieve correct results.

Usually the frequency response functions (FRF) are obtained using a modal hammer with a force sensor tip. Some of the problems that occur are that the excitation positions vary with every hit, that the angle is very hard to determine and furthermore that it is nearly impossible to bring the same energy into the system with every hit. This contribution gives a short motivation why the automatisation of modal analysis experiments could improve the method of experimental substructuring.

At the Chair of Applied Mechanics at TU-Munich, we developed a low-cost automatic modal hammer which is presented here. The whole device is positioned in front of the structure with a stand, so there is no need for readjustment in order to perform multiple impacts on the structure. The energy of the impacts can be adjusted by tuning the parameter settings of the automatic hammer.

The motion in the hammer is induced by an electromagnetic reluctance actuator. The principle is shown and a simple multi-body model set up in this paper. This model is used to tune parameters in a way to avoid double impacts and to predict the impact forces. The actuator is driven by some electronics with a microcontroller, whereby the acceleration time, voltage and the impulse series can be adjusted via PC. Consistence between the model and the real device are shown using a fully instrumented test rig. Furthermore, test series were carried out to prove repeatability.

Finally, a demonstration application on an academic structure is shown. Here the differences between classical modal analysis using a hand hammer and using the new automatic hammer are evident. Generally, the FRFs using the automatic hammer are less noisy and the coherence function is better.


Dynamic substructuring Frequency based substructuring Experimental substructuring High quality FRF Automatic modal hammer AMimpact 


  1. 1.
    AS-1220 Automated Impact Hammer. Alta Solutions, Poway, CA (2013)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Automatischer Modalhammer — vImpact-20. Maul-Theet, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bediz, B., Korkmaz, E., Ozdoganlar, O.B.: An impact excitation system for repeatable, high-bandwidth modal testing of miniature structures. J. Sound Vib. 333(13), 2743–2761 (2014). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bernhofer, T.: Mehrkörpersimulation eines automatischen Impulshammers. Bachelorthesis. Technische Universität München (2018)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Blaschke, P., Schneider, S., Kamenzky, R., Alarcón, D.J.: Non-linearity Identification of Composite Materials by Scalable Impact Modal Testing, pp. 7–14. Springer, New York (2017). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Brüggemann, T., Biermann, D., Zabel, A.: Development of an automatic modal pendulum for the measurement of frequency responses for the calculation of stability charts. Proc. CIRP 33, 587–592 (2015). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    de Klerk, D., Rixen, D.J., de Jong, J.: The frequency based substructuring (FBS) method reformulated according to the dual domain decomposition method. In: 24th International Modal Analysis Conference, St.Louis, MO (2006)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Norman, P.E., Jung, G., Ratcliffe, C., Crane, R., Davis, C.: Development of an Automated Impact Hammer for Modal Analysis of Structures, September 2018.
  9. 9.
    Ning Liu, L., Guang Zhang, Y., Shi, Z., Zhanqiang, L.: Development of Electronic Impact Hammer and Its Application to Face Milling Cutter Modal Analysis, September 2013, vol. 797, pp. 585–591. Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Popov, V. Kontaktmechanik und Reibung: Von der Nanotribologie bis zur Erdbebendynamik. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg (2016). ISBN: 9783662459751. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Trainotti, F.: Development of a proper FRF acquisition procedure for Experimental Dynamic Substructuring. Semester thesis. Technical University of Munich (2018)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Trainotti, F., Berninger, T.F.C., Rixen, D.J.: Use of laser vibrometry for precise FRF measurements in experimental substructuring. In: Proceedings of the 37th IMAC, A Conference and Exposition on Structural Dynamics (2019)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Society for Experimental Mechanics, Inc. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Mechanical EngineeringTechnical University of MunichGarchingGermany

Personalised recommendations