The NASA/JPL Environmental Test Laboratory (ETL) developed and built a tunable beam shock test bench based on a design from Sandia National Laboratory many years ago. ETL has been using this test system successfully since October 2008.
The excitation is provided by a projectile driven by gas pressure.
The beam is used to achieve shock response spectrum (SRS) specifications, typically consisting of a ramp and a plateau in log-log format. The intersection between these two lines is referred to as the “knee frequency.” The beam span can be varied to meet a given knee frequency. The high frequency shock response is controlled by damping material.
The tunable-beam system is calibrated with a center-of-gravity (CG) mass and footprint model of the test article. The mass simulator is mounted in the test axis with the appropriate accelerometers installed as they would be for the testing the test article. Then the system is tuned by performing test runs until the data plots meet the requirement.
Finally, the test article is mounted to the tuned beam for the actual test.
See also: JPL Tunable Beam
– Tom Irvine