Acoustics and manufacture of Caribbean steelpans
Maloney, Soren E.
Barlow, Claire Y.
University of Cambridge
Department of Engineering
Institute for Manufacturing
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Maloney, S. E. (2011). Acoustics and manufacture of Caribbean steelpans (doctoral thesis).
The Caribbean steelpan is a pitched percussion instrument that originated in Trinidad and Tobago during the Second World War. Despite several research initiatives to improve the making of this relatively new instrument, several areas remain unaddressed. This thesis presents new approaches to help improve the making of the instrument. These approaches are situated in the production, vibration and material aspect of the steelpan. A novel sheet forming technology termed Incremental Sheet Forming (ISF) is applied to the production of miniature steelpan dishes. The thickness distribution in the wall of the ISF dishes is compared to the wall thickness distribution in a traditionally formed steelpan dish and a wheeled dish. Unlike traditional forming and wheeling, ISF produces stretching in only a portion of the walls of the formed dishes. Multi-pass ISF is used to extend the stretched zone but this extension is minimal. A break even analysis is also applied to investigate the fiscal viability of ISF application to the production of miniature and full size steelpan dishes. The application of ISF to steelpan making is found to be commercially profitable but could be jeopardised by the tuning stage of the steelpan making process. A preliminary study on the effect of impact on tone stability is conducted on a pair of notes on a full size steelpan and detuning is found more likely to occur by repeated impact of the note at its centre. Mode confinement in test-pans is also investigated. ISF is used to produce miniature test-pans with test-notes that are geometrically identical to notes on full size pans. It is possible to confine modes by varying the curvature of the bowl surrounding the test-note. The number of localised modes in the test-note increases as the radius of curvature of the surrounding bowl increases. The natural frequency of the first confined mode in the test-notes is sensitive to material springback in ISF and the mechanism of confinement appears to be due to the change in geometry that occurs between the flat test-note region and the bowl wall. This control of mode confinement may find use in future efforts to completely or partially automate the steelpan making process. Material damping and mechanical properties in low-carbon steel used to produce steelpans are researched. Damping and mechanical properties are extracted from low-carbon steel that is subjected to identical stages to the steelpan production process. Material damping trends suggest that an annealing temperature between 300°C and 400°C would be appropriate for the heat treatment of steelpans. Air-cooled and water-quenched low-carbon specimens exhibit comparable damping trends. Hardness increases in cold formed low-carbon specimens is attributed to strain hardening and not strain ageing. Investigation of damping trends and mechanical properties in ultralow bake-hardenable and interstitial-free steels reveals that a wider range of low-carbon steels maybe suitable for steelpan making.
Steelpan, Mode confinement, Incremental sheet forming, Material damping
This work was supported by the University of Trinidad and Tobago
This record's URL: http://www.dspace.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/238665
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 UK: England & Wales
Licence URL: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/uk/
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