Mechanical Vibrations

Unit code: NEM4101 | Study level: Undergraduate
(Generally, 1 credit = 10 hours of classes and independent study.)
Footscray Park
NEM3101 - Engineering Analysis and Modelling
NEM3101 PLUS completion of 240 Credit points
(Or equivalent to be determined by unit coordinator)


Mechanical vibration is an important consideration for the performance, functionality and integrity of many structures and machines. This unit of study critically reviews theoretical concepts related to mechanical vibrations. It is designed to promote the requisite knowledge, skills and competencies to analyse and resolve vibration issues across a broad range of applications. Students’ learning is consolidated through real world projects specifically designed to enhance their classroom and laboratory based learning.

The unit incorporates the following topics: Fundamental vibration theory; various types of damping; response due to initial conditions (free vibrations); harmonic and complex forcing functions; Fourier analysis and the Fourier spectrum; Shock Response Spectrum; single, two and multi degree-of-freedom systems; mode shapes; vibration measurement and instrumentation; random vibration analysis; and vibration absorbers and vibration control.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Map and articulate the fundamental concepts of mechanical vibrations and justify their application in a variety of engineering design contexts;
  2. Measure and analyse the salient vibration characteristics of vibratory systems such as structures, machines and vehicles;
  3. Construct numerical models of vibratory systems such that they can be used to predict and enhance performance;
  4. Compute and predict the vibration behaviour of complex systems (including two and multi degree-of-freedom) using vibration theory;
  5. Analyse the vibration behaviour of structures and machines taking into account economic, industrial, human and environmental considerations; and
  6. Produce accurate, clear and coherent technical reports on the vibratory behaviour of structures and mechanical systems for a variety of audiences.


For Melbourne campuses

Formative assessment in the form of group reports (four reports) are hurdle assessment tasks and will be assessed as 0 (unsatisfactory) or 1 (satisfactory) and every team member receives the same mark. As these are designed to assist the learning process, unsatisfactory reports may be re-submitted repeatedly after feedback has been obtained from the facilitator. The mid-semester and final examinations are largely based on the work undertaken for the reports.

Assessment type: Report
Grade: 30%
Project-based reports. Assessment undertaken in groups (hurdle assessment, 4 parts)
Assessment type: Test
Grade: 70%
Tests (two open book tests)

Required reading

Mechanical Vibrations
Rao S.S. (2011)| Addison-Wesley Publishing Company
Engineering Vibration
Inman D.J. (2014)| Prentice Hall

As part of a course

This unit is studied as part of the following course(s):

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