Optimizing occupant experience, equipment performance and structural integrity by understanding and mitigating vibration

Structural vibration can subtly undermine an otherwise successful project.

  • In workplaces or meeting venues, it can cause people to be distracted, reducing productivity or enjoyment.
  • In high-tech environments, it can degrade the performance of susceptible equipment, causing operational or profitability issues.
  • For flexible structures such as bridges and grandstands, synchronized movement of pedestrians can cause disconcerting and even dangerous motion in the structure.

pedestrians on elevated walkway

Our service

We help you understand vibration issues in your project and how they can be mitigated.

Solutions we propose may include the following:

  • Structural changes
  • Architectural changes
  • Operational changes
  • Tuned mass dampers (TMDs).

Operational changes might include setting occupancy limits for dance floors and aerobics rooms or prescribing whether or not a footbridge can be used for marathons. Mass damping (TMDs) can be effective to control vibration at a wide range of frequencies and scales, from long-span floors to the Grand Canyon Skywalk to the 632-meter-tall Shanghai Tower.

Through our work on vibration-related projects—damper design, floor vibration, ground-borne vibration, wind-induced vibration, bridge analysis, acoustics and aeroacoustics—we have gained a broad range of experience in vibration issues. This experience means we are able to collaborate with you to determine the most accurate and cost-effective type of mitigation for your specific project. It also gives the breadth of expertise needed to consult effectively on unique, “outside-the-box” projects

We evaluate the vibration source, transmission path and receiver (human or machine). In this analysis, we consider not only the magnitude of vibration but also how often it occurs. We then propose solutions that balance occupant concerns with your performance goals.

Solutions can include steps to

  • Isolate or relocate the source
  • Change the structural dynamics of the path
  • Relocate or make accommodations at the receiving location.

Our solutions are uniquely effective because we consider the bigger picture. Often we do vibration analysis as part of a larger evaluation of a design. That means we’ve seen how vibration solutions work in the context of other issues, such as acoustics, noise, foundation design, seismic- or wind-induced motion, and so on.

This broad experience also means we are able to produce more accurate computer models of vibration. These models require an estimate of the structure’s ability to absorb vibration—its structural damping. These estimates depend crucially on specialist judgment developed through experiment and experience.

Related Services

See also our services focused on bridge aerodynamics, acoustics and tuned mass dampers.