This paper analyses the damping characteristics of a titanium shell with a magnetostrictive layer bonded to it. The magnetostrictive layer produces an actuating force required to control vibration in the shell, based on a negative velocity feedback control law. The control input is the current to the solenoid surrounding the shell. In the present study, a finite element formulation, physically consistent with the problem has been developed. Vibration reduction in the shell by changing the position of the magnetostrictive layer and its current carrying actuating coil pair along the shell is investigated. © 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.