Design of a mechanical player system for fatigue-life evaluation of woodwind reeds

Connor Kempa, Song Wanga and Gary Scavoneb

aMcGill University
bComputational acoustic modeling laboratory, CIRMMT, McGill University

Monday, September 16, 2019 from 09:00 to 09:20

in Summer Theater

Abstract :
Research into the vibrational properties of woodwind reeds, and potential synthetic replacements, requires the consideration of several factors. To date, analysis of pertinent properties of natural cane reeds has mostly been limited to reeds in their initial “unplayed” state. One important mechanical aspect of reed-life and durability that should be considered is fatigue behaviour. Fatigue is concerned with the degradation of mechanical stiffness over the lifespan of a reed and is important for understanding changing vibrational behaviour. It is also likely that reed properties reach a steady-state after initial playing, but before they begin to significantly degrade, with mechanical properties (elastic, damping) during this period being most important for synthetic material development. Here an artificial player system is developed and used to evaluate the long-term mechanical behaviour of cane reeds. Reeds are “played” on the system with control over playing time, input pressure and playing frequency. In this way, the dependency of mechanical fatigue on frequency is evaluated. During the study, reeds are also tested under static bending conditions to characterise mechanical degradation rates. Results will aid in understanding the importance of playing time and frequency on reed lifespan, properties, degradation and potentially lead to comparisons with current synthetic reeds.

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