The efficiency of using surface-mounted damping layers for noise-reduction of thin-walled (sheet metal) structures, largely depends on their distribution on the component. It is therefore attempted — by using FEM and Mathematical Programming (MP) procedures — to determine optimal layer distributions in such a way that the resonance amplitudes in a frequency interval become minimal. An approximation method based on damped single degree of freedom response functions is used for resonance tracking. Beams, circular plates and shallow spherical shells with unconstrained damping treatment are considered as application examples. It will be shown that an optimal layout of the layers can result in substantial reductions in sound radiation. These reductions result not only from an increase in damping and stiffness but may also be due to a modification of the vibration modeshapes.

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