In civil engineering, Experimental Modal Analysis (EMA) dynamic tests are powerful aids to the seismic design of new structures, and useful tools for the structural identification of existing structures. EMA tests require to accurately evaluate the harmonic forcing function that is applied to the structure under testing, in order to correctly apply "model updating" procedures. The present work experimentally investigates on the nature of the forcing function applied by a vibrodyne, and its influence on the results of simulations on the dynamics of a single degree of freedom system. By using wireless accelerometers attached to a vibrodyne, we were able to measure the applied accelerations in the time domain, and the applied forcing function under different frequencies. Such an identification procedure was applied both in presence of 3+3 keyed masses, and in presence of 5+5 keyed masses, considering different angular speeds. In both cases, the forcing function applied by the vibro-dyne was accurately determined as a function of time. We found out that the actual forcing function is slightly different from the theoretical sinusoidal profile, featuring marked oscillations. The work is completed by the analysis of the dynamic response a simple degree of freedom system under the action of smooth and oscillating sinusoidal forcing functions. A comparison between the results of the analyzed systems highlights marked mismatches in terms of predicted displacements, velocities, and accelerations. We therefore conclude that an accurate knowledge of the applied forcing function in EMA tests is essential in order to correctly identify the properties of the tested structures.
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