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Footfall-induced vibration

When people walk on floors, staircases, bridges or other structures they apply dynamic forces that cause the structures to vibrate. The vibration amplitude is normally very small and is not normally significant in terms of structural integrity. However, it can often be felt by other people and if excessive can be distracting. Vibration can also impair the function of sensitive equipment and can be of particular concern in areas of hospitals such as operating theatres. A Design Guide for Footfall Induced Vibration of Structures, by M R Willford and P Young, published for The Concrete Centre by The Concrete Society, presents a new method for evaluating the vibration due to a single pedestrian walking on a flat surface, such as a floor slab or bridge deck. The method was developed by Arup, and has been calibrated and refined with verification measurements taken on completed structures over a period of ten years.

This publication provides an informative description of the factors affecting footfall-induced vibration and guides the engineer through the process of designing for vibration. It includes flowcharts for calculation procedures and a useful glossary. It also includes worked examples on a concrete footbridge, a low frequency multi-span post-tensioned concrete floor and a high frequency ribbed slab.

Acknowledgement: The Concrete Society

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A design guide for footfall induced vibration of structures