When wind, water, vehicles or earthquakes affect a structure such as a building or tower, the vibrations have the potential to make that structure unsafe.
Excessive vibrations can lead to metal fatigue, poor operation of equipment within or on the structure, and even failure of the structure entirely. High strength materials and longer spans make structural vibrations more pronounced, highlighting vibration problems in applications that were not problematic in earlier decades.
Along with this, there has been change in the landscape of structural vibration analysis, with key advancements being made to the power of computers and the time in which analysis can now be completed.
C. Raj Sundararajan, President of EDA Consultants explains that “what took weeks of work by multiple engineers can now be done in a few hours by a single knowledgeable engineer.
“This requires the engineer to know what computer methods to use on different types of problems and what approximations are necessary and acceptable for specific problems.”
As well as improvement in technology in post-vibration analysis, there has also been advancements in the design process of new structures with some tools being improved and used more commonly.
“Although dampings, vibration absorbers and vibration isolators have been in use for decades to reduce vibrations of new structures as well as existing structures, these devices are now used more widely.”
With these and many other advancements, comes the need for engineers to keep their knowledge up-to-date.
To assist, the internationally recognised leader in training for engineers and technical professionals, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) have an upcoming course scheduled, titled Structural Vibration Analysis: Design and Troubleshooting.
This course discusses both vibrations due to human activities, for example, walking, vehicle operation (traffic), rotating machines, blasts) and natural hazards such as earthquakes and winds.