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UConn Professor Finds New Way to Test Submarine Parts for Vibration

By Julia Bergman, Day staff writer

It goes without saying that being able to move around quietly is key to a submarine’s stealth.

The Navy has continued to develop ways to make submarines more stealthy such as quieter machinery and a new hull coating to better absorb sound. And now, a University of Connecticut professor and his graduate students have found a way to do vibration testing on submarine parts sooner in the design process.

Rich Christenson, a professor in the University of Connecticut’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, and his graduate students have adapted a method used by earthquake engineers to use shake tables to simulate how parts like a submarine motor, for example, will vibrate on a ship at sea. The shake tables are connected to computers, which tell the tables to move as the part would if it were sitting in water. The computers also run a mathematical model to see how the parts will respond when they are part of a larger system.

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