Advanced Technologies for Mitigation of Human-Induced Vibration

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

Abstract

There is an inexorable trend for civil engineering structures to become more slender and lightweight, as engineers strive to design more efficient structures with reduced economic cost, reduced carbon footprint and increased flexibility of usage. Unfortunately, due to their reduced mass and stiffness these structures are inherently lively and there is a desperate need for advanced technologies that are capable of ensuring satisfactory vibration performance when people walk, run and jump on them. There are two key issues to address:

(1) Technologies are required to deal with existing vibration problems, which are increasingly and widely observed in structures such as floors, footbridges, sports stadia and staircases. Currently available technologies are insufficient to deal with the majority of these problems, which means that extensive and low-tech structural modification schemes have to be employed that are both expensive and highly disruptive.

(2) If the ambitions of structural engineers for ever more slender and efficient structures are to be realised, it will be necessary to 'design in' advanced methods of vibration control when developing new structures. This is because many contemporary structures are already being designed at their limits of vibration acceptability. Unfortunately, the new technologies required for this transformative design approach are not yet available.

In the last five years, the applicant and his team have carried out exciting research into active control of vibration in floor structures, in which large reductions in vibration have been achieved that are not possible using other floor control technologies. They have also demonstrated that significant material savings may be made using this technology, which has the potential to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of new buildings. This is the main vision for this fellowship and the future, where advanced and intelligent vibration control strategies will become commonplace in structures subject to human dynamic loading.

However, a solution that works for floor vibrations from a single person walking is not necessarily going to work for a sports stadium with many thousands of people jumping during a rock concert. Hence, what is required is a required is a complete 'suite' of control technologies, from which the most appropriate solution may be chosen and implemented for any particular vibration problem. In these days of active noise cancelling headphones and semi-active vehicle suspension systems, it is time for these advanced technologies to find their place in civil structural engineering, to solve the unique problems of human-induced vibration.

Hence, in this research a comprehensive framework of technologies will be developed, so that the most appropriate technologies may be selected for a particular application. This will be the first time in the world that such a holistic approach has been taken to mitigation of human-induced vibrations. Fundamental research into a range of these technologies, including active, semi-active and hybrid vibration control techniques will be carried out to prove their viability in the civil engineering sector through analytical modelling, laboratory testing and in-the-field implementation. Finally, extensive industrial liaison and public outreach activities are planned to ensure the take-up of these technologies, which is the key way in which this research will benefit UK plc.

Planned Impact

The key beneficiary of the proposed research is the UK civil engineering and construction industry, who at long last will have access to effective vibration control technologies. This will ensure that they can deal with vibration problems encountered with structures in service in a relatively inexpensive manner and with minimal disruption to the occupants. In addition, the vibration control technologies will facilitate the future design of more efficient and slender structures with satisfactory vibration performance, which will use less materials and hence have reduced economic cost and carbon footprint.

The following activities are designed to maximise the industrial impact of the proposed research:

- Individual visits will be made to UK consultants and technical presentations given at the Institution of Structural Engineers, to disseminate research and to seek input into future research directions.

- Steering group meetings will be help biannually, which will include a number of industrial participants.

- Mitigation technologies will be implemented on real civil structures and case studies made available.

- PR will have input into national and international working groups to disseminate the latest research and develop guidance to ensure the take-up of the new vibration control technologies.

- A textbook will be written that will be accessible to practicing engineers.

- The developed technologies will be exploited commercially, to ensure that the technologies are available for use by the industry.

The owners and users of buildings will benefit through the increased slenderness of structures that may be achieved, leading to cheaper and lower carbon structures that have increased flexibility of usage. Users of controlled structures will also benefit from an enhanced vibration environment, leading to increased comfort and, in the case of offices and structures housing vibration sensitive equipment, increased productivity. In many cases, building users are comprised of members of the general public, who will benefit from reduced vibration in structures such as public buildings, footbridges, sports stadia, arenas and theatres.

PR will also dedicate valuable time to development of public outreach activities. Structural dynamics is inherently a very visual subject, whereby scientific principles can easily be illustrated using videos, animations and even physical models. The following public outreach activities are planned:

- Imaginative physical models, posters, presentations and simulation software will be developed to demonstrate the fundamental principles of vibration problems and the mitigation technologies developed.

- Opportunities will be sought to promote civil engineering (and particularly structural dynamics) to the wider community, especially schoolchildren who might be interested in a future career in engineering. In particular, PR will volunteer to give demonstrations to and develop interactive activities for school children attending the University of Sheffield Engineering Summer School and at UCAS open days.

- A web site will be designed specifically for non-experts, to introduce and explain the problems of human-induced vibration and the technologies being developed to deal with these problems. This will make use of some of the virtual simulations mentioned above, and will include collaborative and interactive elements to encourage active exchange of knowledge.

- To maximise the opportunities for public communication of the research, all researchers employed by the LF and associated research projects will attend a Royal Society course on public communication and media.

Related Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Award Value
EP/J004081/1 01/10/2011 30/04/2013 £1,056,999
EP/J004081/2 Transfer EP/J004081/1 01/05/2013 31/03/2017 £767,667
 
Description Novel methods of control of human-induced vibrations have been developed. A key impact is the development of the world's first commercial active mass damper for a concert venue. Other more minor impacts include development of passive dampers in partnership with academic/industrial partners.
Exploitation Route Development of commercial products based on fundamental research carried out.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Construction,Environment,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

 
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. Also, development of passive dampers in conjunction with industry. Also, participation on vibration-related standards bodies.
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Construction
Impact Types Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description CPD course on Vibration Serviceability at IStructE in London (May 2016
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
 
Description Member of Scienti?c Committee of 2nd International Conference on Bridge Testing, Monitoring and Assessment, Cairo, Egypt
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
 
Description Member of Scienti?c Committee of 6th World Conference on Structural Control and Monitoring, Barcelona, Spain
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
 
Description Member of Scienti?c Committee of biennial International Operational Modal Analysis Conference
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
 
Description Awarded £35k in 2016 from College QR Small Equipment fund for a Quanser 2-axis shake table and derived a ECMM102 group project in 2016/17 to develop teaching demonstraons using the shake table
Amount £35,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Exeter 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2016 
End 08/2017
 
Description Awarded £45k in 2016 for structural dynamics teaching laboratory equipment from the College Tranche 3 funding mechanism, which is being developed for use in ECM3173 from academic year 2016/17
Amount £45,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Exeter 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2016 
End 07/2017
 
Description Development of commercially exploitable prototype of active control system for problematic building ?oor vibrations funded by EPSRC Impact Acceleration Accoun
Amount £44,976 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2016 
End 03/2018
 
Description CPD course on Vibration Serviceability at IStructE in London (May 2016) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Delivery of an interactive CPD course on Vibration Serviceability at the IStructE's premises in London (May 2016). We were invited to do this by the Institution for Structural Engineers (IStructE) as there was a need for this training in industry. The course was so popular, there was a huge waiting list and consequently, we have booked two more dates in London for 2017. IStructE even received enquiries from abroad. They are now looking at booking dates in Manchester and Glasgow for further course delivery opportunities to industry.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Invited keynote presentation at the 6th European Conference on Structural Control on 13 July 2016 on "Control of Human-Induced Vibraons: An Integrated Approach to Vibration Serviceability Design 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited keynote presentation at the 6th European Conference on Structural Control on 13 July 2016 on "Control of Human-Induced Vibraons: An Integrated Approach to Vibration Serviceability Design
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Invited lecture to MSc students at Southampton University on 12 May 2016 on "Applications of Active Vibration Control in Civil Engineering Structures 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited lecture to MSc students at Southampton University on 12 May 2016 on "Applications of Active Vibration Control in Civil Engineering Structures
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Lecture on Shake, Rattle and Roll - Exeter Initiative for Science and Technology (EXIST) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Breakfast presentation to 150 local business leaders to raise awareness of our work. Led directly to further discussions with local business leader regarding potential collaborative work.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.existexeter.co.uk/04-2015/Events/
 
Description Participation in Research Roadmap workshop in Vibration Serviceability 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Instigated, organised and ran a Research Roadmap workshop in Vibration Serviceability. Participants from academia and industry from all over the world, either travelled to the University of Exeter to take part, or participated remotely. Participants completed the information request templates to help form the basis of the workshop and following the workshop responded to the initial draft of the report identifying the relevant needs and important future actions. Once the report is finalised and approved by participants, we will decide on the next steps for taking this forward.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Presentation at Waterman Group, London, on 15 June 2016 on "Control of Human-Induced Vibrations 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation at Waterman Group, London, on 15 June 2016 on "Control of Human-Induced Vibrations
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Presentation on Control of Human-Induced Vibrations in Floor Structures at Argent (Property Development) Services in London, January 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation on Control of Human-Induced Vibrations in Floor Structures at Argent (Property Development) Services in London, January 2017
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Presentation on Control of Human-Induced Vibrations: an integrated approach to vibration serviceability design at Expedition Engineering, London, November 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation on Control of Human-Induced Vibrations: an integrated approach to vibration serviceability design at Expedition Engineering, London, November 2016
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Presented at ICE Technical Report Club, Exeter (September 2015) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation to 20 ICE graduate members as part of their professional development and chartership process.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Short course delivery - Buro Happold, Bath 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Dissemination of outputs from research to major engineering consultancy.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Short course delivery - Mott MacDonald, Croydon 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Dissemination of outputs from research to major engineering consultancy.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015