We apply proper orthogonal decomposition (POD) to an experimental cantilevered beam and obtain a set of proper orthogonal modes (POMs) and proper orthogonal values (POVs). The POMs form a bases that represents the optimal distribution of energy in the system. A set of experiments was performed excited by impulse inputs and sensed with strain gages. The strains were converted to displacements and POD was performed on the displacements. The POMs were compared with the theoretical normal modes. The results confirmed the validity of this method for acquiring lower modes of vibration. The identification of lower modes was robust with respect to the choice of data acquisition parameters and input locations. We also used different types of basis functions for converting strains to displacements.

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