As the recent structures seek lighter weight, damping becomes a more critical issue. Decreasing weight increases flexibility causing vibrations to become more prevalent. Damping treatments to reduce unwanted vibrations are usually classified into three categories: passive, semi active and active depending on the degree to which external energy and complexity is needed to achieve the required reduction in vibration. Here we examine the use of a multifunctional structure’s philosophy to introduce and research the concept of “electronic damping” offering an alternative to traditional damping solutions and a capability of providing uniform energy dissipation across a wide range of ambient frequencies and temperatures. The proposed research addresses increasing the range of effectiveness of damping by addressing the temperature and frequency dependence of material damping by using a multifunctional composite system containing an active element. Our approach is to model the mechanics using Lagrange’s formulation for multi-physics systems and to experimentally validate our models using careful experiments. We propose to examine the strength models and properties of the system and to examine the performance by constructing and testing some prototype systems. The focus is on both the electrical integration and the structural integration of the different material systems required to design a completely stand alone multifunctional composite with superior damping properties useful for suppressing vibrations.

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