The damping behaviour of multi-layer composite mechanical components, shown by recent research and application papers, is analyzed. A local dissipation mechanism, acting at the interface between any two different layers of the composite component, is taken into account, and a beam model, to be used for validating the known experimental results, is proposed. Multi-layer prismatic beams, consisting of a metal substrate and of some thin coated layers exhibiting variable stiffness and adherence properties, are considered in order to make it possible to study and validate this assumption. A dynamical model, based on a simple beam geometry but taking into account the previously introduced local dissipation mechanism and distributed visco-elastic constraints, is proposed. Some different application examples of specific multi-layer beams are considered, and some numerical examples concerning the beam free and forced response are described. The influence of the multilayer system parameters on the damping behaviour of the free and forced response of the composite beam is investigated by means of the definition of some damping estimators. Some effective multi-coating configurations, giving a relevant increase of the damping estimators of the coated structure with respect to the same uncoated structure, are obtained from the model simulation, and the results are critically discussed.
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