Active Control of Human-Induced Vibration

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sheffield
Department Name: Civil and Structural Engineering


The design of floor structures supporting human occupants is increasingly being governed by vibration serviceability criteria. This is a result of increasing slenderness of modern floor systems and the trend for fewer partitions and other non-structural elements that otherwise would provide damping. At the same time, demands for better vibration performance are increasing. Occupants of high quality commercial, residential and hospital buildings will complain when excessive levels of vibration are felt. Also, many new items of scientific, healthcare and manufacturing equipment are sensitive to even very low levels of vibration and the structures that support them must be designed to ensure an appropriate vibration environment.To address these issues, the proposed research will investigate the use of active vibration control (AVC) to improve the vibration performance of floor structures under human-induced loading. This technology has already been shown by the PI to be feasible but it requires substantial further research to be established as a practical option for structural engineers and building developers. Hence, the key aims of the proposed research are:- To identify and develop control strategies suitable for active control of human-induced vibrations in floors and to evaluate improvements in floor vibration performance through simulations, laboratory testing and field installation. A full spectrum of complexity will be investigated, ranging from simple single-input-single-output collocated systems to much more complex adaptive model-based systems using multiple sensors and actuators.- To develop inertial actuation technology appropriate for AVC on floor structures, and hence to demonstrate that an AVC system can be `packaged' to be affordable, compact, robust and reliable. These are key technological hurdles that must be addressed if the benefits of AVC systems are to be realised in the highly commercial civil engineering sector.


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Philp, R (2011) Semi-Active Control of Staircase Vibration Under Human Excitation in Semi-Active Control of Staircase Vibration Under Human Excitation

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Malcolm Hudson (Author) (2013) Potential Benefits of Incorporating Active Vibration Control in Floor Structures in Structural Engineer

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Díaz I (2010) On-off nonlinear active control of floor vibrations in Mechanical Systems and Signal Processing

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Hudson E (2016) Design and Construction of a Reconfigurable Pedestrian Structure in Experimental Techniques

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Díaz I (2010) Acceleration feedback control of human-induced floor vibrations in Engineering Structures

Description Technologies for active control of human-induced vibrations. Good effectiveness of technology demonstrated, together with potential environmental benefits through reduced material usage.
Exploitation Route Commercial products
Sectors Construction

Description Active vibration control was implemented on a major scale at a conference venue in the USA in a $2M project - the first installation of its kind worldwide. We are in discussions with two other industrial partners about implementation of the technology on other structures.
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Construction
Impact Types Economic

Description Corresponding member of the IStructE/DCLG/DCMS Working Group on the "Dynamic Performance and Design of Stadia Structures and Seating Decks
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact This working group developed the IStructE guidance that is currently used for design and assessment of stadium structures under dynamic loading from crowds.
Description Founder member and current vice-chair of NAFEMS Dynamics and Testing Group, which originated from the former UK Dynamic Testing Agency.
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Description Founder member and vice chair of NAFEMS Dynamics and Testing Working Group
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact Training of engineering workforce in state-of-the-art vibration analysis techniques.
Description Member of BSI technical committee GMI 21/6/4
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
Impact Development of guidance used by those assessing whole-body vibration effects in buildings, including civil engineers, acoustics specialists, etc.
Company Name Full Scale Dynamics Limited 
Description Technical services related to analysis, testing, monitoring of vibration performance and vibration control of large civil engineering structures. 
Year Established 2008 
Impact Over £200k annual turnover, resulting in more than 100 applied research and consultancy contracts worth over £2.0m awarded since 2000. Providing consulting and applied research services to over 80 blue chip companies in the UK and overseas, many of which are returning customers.