LIGO Document G0810032-v1

Dissipation processes in Metal springs

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17 Dec 2008, 09:28
We studied the dissipation properties of the Maraging springs used in the seismic isolation system of Advanced LIGO, Virgo, TAMA, et c., with emphasis on mechanical hysteresis, which seems to play a more important role than expected. The Monolithic Geometric Anti Spring vertical attenuation filter at very low frequency presented an anomalous transfer function of 1/f instead of the expected 1/f2, static hysteresis and eventually instability.
While characterizing these effects we discovered a new dissipation mechanism and an unexpected facet of elasticity. Not all elasticity comes from the rigid crystalline structure. A non-negligible fraction of elasticity is contributed by a changing medium, probably entangled dislocations. Oscillation amplitude (or other external disturbances) can disentangle some of these dislocations thus reducing the available restoring force of a spring. The disentangled dislocations temporarily provide boosted viscous like dissipation, then they lock back providing elasticity with a different equilibrium point. A stable oscillator can be made unstable by small external perturbation and fall over, or can be re-stabilized by externally providing temporary restoring forces while the dislocations re-entangle. The process likely explains the anomalous transfer function.
We may be getting closer to solve the old dilemma if dissipation in metals is better described by viscous losses or by a loss angle.

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