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598

Performance evaluation of vibration-sensitive


equipment foundations under ground-transmitted
excitation
M. Hesham El Naggar

Abstract: The planning of foundations for equipment that is sensitive to vibrations requires a thorough dynamic investigation of the proposed location of the foundation with regard to the effect of already existing or additional vibration
sources. This paper discusses the analyses performed for a number of foundations supporting vibration-sensitive equipment that has been subjected to ground-transmitted excitations. These analyses considered the dynamic response of the
foundations resulting from the normal operation of the supported equipment or the ground-transmitted excitations. In
one case, the foundation of the Canadian Light Source, a third generation synchrotron that will be capable of generating electromagnetic radiation used in the study of the atomic and subatomic structure of materials, is examined.
Another case involves the vibration analysis of a magnetic resonance imaging unit affected by traffic excitation. In the
third case, a power plant facility that is subjected to blast-induced vibration from an adjacent quarry is investigated.
The last case involves the response analysis of a compressor foundation affected by the ground-transmitted vibration
from another compressor situated on a different foundation within the same facility. To assess the level of seismic excitation at the site due to traffic on an adjacent roadway in the first two cases and to blasting activity in the third case,
extensive green field ground vibration-monitoring programs were carried out. The ground accelerations due to traffic
and blasting were measured and recorded for three directions simultaneously: a vertical and two orthogonal horizontal
directions. The measurements with the most intense ground accelerations taken at the ground surface in the location of
the future equipment foundation were selected as the final design acceleration time-history. A Fourier analysis approach
was used to predict the response of the foundation to the ground-induced vibrations in the first three cases, and a
frequency domain analysis was used in the last case.
Key words: machine foundations, vibration, blasting, kinematic, soilstructure interaction.
Rsum : Planification de fondations pour de lquipement qui est sensible aux vibrations requiert un tude dynamique
complte du site propos pour la fondation en considrant leffet des sources de vibrations dj existantes ou additionnelles. Cet article discute des analyses ralises pour un certain nombre de fondations sur lesquelles reposent des quipements sensibles aux vibrations et qui ont t soumises des sollicitations transmises par le terrain. Ces analyses
considrent la rponse dynamique des fondations due lopration normale de lquipement quelles supportent ou aux
sollicitations transmises par le terrain. Dans un cas, on examine la fondation du Canadian Light Source, un synchrotron
de troisime gnration qui pourra gnrer des radiations lectromagntiques utilises dans ltude de la structure
atomique et subatomique des matriaux. Un autre cas implique lanalyse des vibrations dune unit dimagerie de
rsonnance magntique dues la sollicitation du trafic. Dans le troisime cas, on tudie une centrale lectrique qui est
soumise des vibrations induites par le dynamitage dans une carrire adjacente. Le dernier cas implique lanalyse de
la rponse de la fondation dun compresseur due la vibration transmise par le sol en provenance dun autre
compresseur situ sur une autre fondation lintrieur de la centrale. Pour valuer le niveau dexcitation sismique sur
le site, due au trafic sur une route adjacente dans les deux premiers cas, et lactivit de dynamitage dans le troisime
cas, on a ralis des programmes labors de mesures des vibrations du terrain naturel. Les acclrations du terrain
dues au trafic ou dynamitage ont t mesures et enregistres simultanment dans trois directions: une direction
verticale et deux horizontales orthogonales. Les mesures ayant les acclrations du sol les plus intenses prises la
surface du terrain sur le site de la fondation du futur quipement ont t choisies pour la conception finale de lhistoire
en fonction du temps de lacclration. On a utilis une approche danalyse de Fourier pour prdire la rponse de la
fondation aux vibrations induites par le terrain dans les trois premiers cas, et une analyse dans le domaine des
frquences dans le dernier cas.
Mots cls : fondations de machine, vibration, dynamitage, cintique, interaction solstructure.
[Traduit par la Rdaction]

El Naggar

615

Received 5 November 2001. Accepted 28 December 2002. Published on the NRC Research Press Web site at http://cgj.nrc.ca on
20 May 2003.
M.H. El Naggar. Geotechnical Research Centre, Faculty of Engineering Science, The University of Western Ontario, London ON
N6A 5B9, Canada. (e-mail: naggar@uwo.ca).
Can. Geotech. J. 40: 598615 (2003)

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El Naggar

Introduction
The main objective when designing a foundation for
vibration-sensitive equipment is to limit the response amplitudes of the foundation to the specified tolerance in all vibration modes. The tolerance is usually set by the machine
manufacturer to ensure satisfactory performance of the machine. The displacement of foundations subjected to dynamic loads depends on the type and geometry of the
foundation, the flexibility of the supporting ground, and the
type of dynamic loading.
The objective of this paper is to establish a rational approach for the evaluation of the dynamic performance of
foundations supporting vibration-sensitive equipment. This
approach incorporates the dynamic characteristics of both
the foundation system and the seismic excitation. It includes
the planning and execution of vibration monitoring programs
at the location of the proposed foundations, the evaluation of
the characteristics of the dynamic loading, the calculation of
the foundation impedance functions, and the response of the
foundation to the dynamic loads.

Design procedure
The vibration criteria stated by the manufacturer are always specified as floor vibrations. Before the facility is
built, no floor vibration can be directly measured. On the
other hand, the ground-transmitted excitation at the site due
to external sources of vibration could be, in many cases, an
important factor for designing the facility or even in deciding whether or not it will be built. Therefore, establishing
the relationship between measured ground vibrations and
expected floor vibrations is the first step in the evaluation
process. The procedure used to establish this relationship
includes the following steps:
(1) Evaluating the dynamic loads: this includes the determination of their magnitudes and characteristics, including
intensity and frequency content of the groundtransmitted vibration.
(2) Establishing the soil profile and evaluating the soil
properties required for the dynamic analysis (shear
modulus, mass density, Poissons ratio, and material
damping ratio).
(3) Selecting the type and trial dimensions of the foundation based on experience.
(4) Computing the dynamic response of the trial foundation
supported by the given soil profile due to the estimated
load and comparing the response with the performance
criteria. If the response is not satisfactory, the dimensions of the foundation are modified and the analysis is
repeated until a satisfactory design is achieved.
The dynamic response analysis is the major component
in the design process. The analysis essentially involves the
calculation of the vibration characteristics of the machine
foundationsoil system (i.e., the natural frequencies and the
vibration amplitudes due to all sources of vibration). The
complexity of the response analysis required depends on the
type of foundation system used. For flexible foundation systems (e.g., thin mat foundations), dynamic finite element
analysis may be necessary. For rigid foundations resting di-

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rectly on the soil or supported by pile groups, simplified


analytical or numerical methods or both are commonly used.
The response of soils and foundations to dynamic excitation is frequency dependent and thus is a function of the
stiffness and damping parameters of the soil and the foundation. Therefore, the evaluation of the appropriate stiffness
and damping parameters (impedance functions) for the foundation soil or pilesoil system is a key step in the analysis.

Evaluation of foundation impedance


functions
The evaluation of the dynamic response of foundations supporting vibration-sensitive equipment requires that proper values for the dynamic stiffness and damping of the foundation be
used. The variation of these values with dynamic soil characteristics is usually notable, and consequently their effect on the
foundations response is important. Both shallow and deep
foundations are commonly used to support machinery.
Several approaches are available for the analysis of foundation systems to account for dynamic soilstructure interaction. The analyses used to determine the impedance
functions of shallow and deep foundations are described
briefly below.
Shallow foundation
The stiffness and damping constants of shallow foundations resting on the surface of a linear viscoelastic halfspace
can be obtained using either three-dimensional or twodimensional continuum approaches. The analytical solutions
include the contribution of many researchers: Bycroft
(1956); Luco and Westmann (1971); and Veletsos and Verbic
(1973). Veletsos and Wei (1971) and Luco and Hadjian
(1974) introduced numerical solutions. For circular bases the
complex stiffness Ki associated with direction i is obtained
by determining the relationship between the harmonic force
acting on a massless disc that rests on the surface of the
halfspace and the resulting displacement of the disc. This
complex stiffness can be expressed in terms of the true stiffness constant, ki , and the damping constant, ci , as
[1]

Ki = ki [ ki (a 0) + ia 0 ci (a 0)]

in which ki is the static stiffness, a0 = R/Vs is the


dimensionless frequency, R is the disc radius, Vs = G
is the shear wave velocity of the soil, and G and are the
soil shear modulus and mass density, respectively. The
parameters ki and ci are stiffness and damping constants
k
V
normalized as follows: ki = i , ci = s ci (i.e., see Veletsos
ki
ki R
and Verbic 1973).
Embedment is known to increase both stiffness and
damping, but the increase in foundation damping is more
significant. The response of embedded footings can be approximated by assuming that soil reactions acting on the
base are equal to those of a surface footing and that the reactions acting on the footing sides are equal to those of an
independent layer overlying the halfspace assuming plane
strain conditions. Beredugo and Novak (1972) found that
this approximate approach yields reasonable results compared with the finite element predictions. In this study, the
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plane strain solutions developed by Novak et al. (1978) for


side reactions and the halfspace solution for base reactions
developed by Veletsos and Verbic (1973) were used to evaluate the stiffness and damping constants of the shallow
foundation.
A foundation resting on a shallow layer has increased
stiffness and reduced or even nil geometric damping (due to
wave propagation away from the foundation). Kobori et al.
(1971) showed that geometric damping might completely
vanish if the excitation frequency is lower than the first natural frequency of the soil layer. The first vertical and horizontal natural frequencies, v and u, respectively, of a shallow
layer are
[2]

v =

Vs
2H

2(2 )
1 2

and

u =

Vs
2H

where H is the layer thickness, and is Poissons ratio of the


soil layer. At frequencies lower than v and u, the only
source of damping is the material damping. For frequencies
below the first layer natural frequencies, it would be safe to
ignore geometric damping completely, and the damping can
be established as a fraction of stiffness giving c as
2

in which is the material damping ratio of the soil.

[3]

c = k k

Deep foundation
Stiffness and damping of piles are affected by interaction
of the piles with the surrounding soil. In groups of closely
spaced piles, the character of dynamic stiffness and damping
is further complicated by interaction between individual
piles. To account for pilesoilpile interaction effects, the
superposition approach was used in the analysis. In this approach, the stiffness and damping of single piles are calculated first, then group effect is accounted for using the
interaction factors.
The dynamic stiffness (impedance function) of piles can
be described as
[4]

Ki = ki (a 0) + i ci (a 0)

The stiffness constants, ki , and the equivalent viscous


damping constants, ci , for individual motions of the pile
head can be evaluated as a function of the pile and soil properties using the approach developed by Novak and AboulElla (1978) for piles in a layered medium.
The dynamic group effects can be evaluated approximately using the interaction factors approach and the
approximate approach due to Dobry and Gazetas (1988) and
Gazetas and Makris (1991) in which the interaction problem
is reduced to the consideration of cylindrical wave propagation. A simplified approximate analysis for the dynamic
group effects is formulated on the basis of dynamic interaction factors, , introduced by Kaynia and Kausel (1982) who
presented charts for dynamic interaction. In this analysis, the
impedance functions of single piles and the interaction factors are calculated first, then the group impedance functions
are computed using the approach described in El Naggar and
Novak (1995). All of the techniques used to calculate the
impedance functions for the foundation are encoded in the

computer code DYNA5 (Novak et al. 2002) that was used in


this study. The DYNA5 program is used to calculate the response of rigid foundations to all types of dynamic loads, including loads from centrifugal or reciprocating machines,
shock-producing machines, earthquakes, traffic, and other
sources of dynamic forces. The response to harmonic loading for a flexible, rectangular mat on elastic halfspace or on
a group of piles can also be calculated. The stiffness and
damping constants of the foundation (needed for the analysis) are evaluated within the program for surface foundations, embedded foundations, and piles accounting for the
interaction of piles in a group. For rigid footings, all six
degrees of freedom are considered as coupled.

Vibration monitoring
To assess the level of seismic excitation at a site caused
by ground-transmitted vibration from external sources, a
ground vibration-monitoring program should be carefully
planned and executed. This involves taking ground acceleration measurements at several stations situated across the site
prior to the start of construction. The evaluation of groundtransmitted vibration caused by the operation of vibrating
equipment in an adjacent facility involves vibration monitoring if the facility already exists or dynamic response analysis
of the proposed foundation system if it is to be constructed
in the future.
Vibration monitoring equipment
Components of the ground vibration monitoring equipment included sensors, mountings for the sensors, and a data
acquisition system. The monitoring system was designed
to provide the required sensitivity, minimize data sampling
errors, and achieve the robust performance necessary for the
anticipated environmental conditions.
In this study, ground vibrations were measured using ICP
model 393B31 seismic accelerometers supplied by PCB
Piezotronics Inc. (Depew, New York) with a sensitivity of
1.0 106g and a measurement range of 0.5 g, a frequency
range of 0.07300 Hz (at 10% gain), and an operational
temperature range from 18 to 65C. These accelerometers
were deemed to satisfy the stringent project requirements. In
addition, a mounted natural frequency in the order of 1 kHz
helped to minimize measurement bias in the frequency range
of interest.
The accelerometers were mounted directly on specially
fabricated aluminum posts installed in the ground at the
measuring stations. Mounting arrangements enabled the
simultaneous attachment of accelerometers in three mutually
orthogonal directions, with two oriented horizontally and the
third vertically. An embedded length of 0.6 m for the posts
was selected to enhance the rigidity of the system. At the
same time it was significantly smaller than the minimum
wavelength of soil vibrations for the maximum frequencies
considered. The sensors were protected from interference
from other factors such as wind, snow, and electromagnetic
fields.
Dynamic tests were conducted on the mounted sensor
assembly using an impact hammer apparatus. It was found
that the embedded posts exhibited a fundamental resonant
frequency ranging between 120 and 150 Hz with a single
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accelerometer mounted on it, and between 70 and 90 Hz


with three mounted accelerometers. Free vibration damping
was observed to be approximately 810% of critical damping.
A digital data acquisition system compatible with the sensors was used to record the acceleration time history. Proper
analog filtering ensured that no frequency interference occurred. The sampling frequency (1 kHz) was selected so that
the highest frequency component of interest could be properly identified. All of the measurement data were recorded
using the data acquisition system and stored in digital form
for subsequent analyses.
Vibration monitoring programs
Ground-transmitted vibration was the main design consideration in the four projects considered in this study. In two
cases, heavy traffic on a highway near the proposed facility
represented the external source of vibration. In the third
case, the vibration was caused by blasting in a quarry operation near a proposed power plant. The last case involved the
response analysis of a compressor foundation affected by its
own operating load as well as the ground-transmitted vibration from another compressor situated on a different foundation within the same facility. In the first three cases,
vibration monitoring programs were executed to assess the
level of vibration.
Canadian Light Source (CLS)
The CLS is a third generation synchrotron that will be
capable of generating electromagnetic radiation used in the
study of the atomic and subatomic structure of materials.
The accuracy required in aiming the electron beam and
the resulting radiation necessitates very stringent operational
tolerances on foundation vibrations, with peak dynamic displacements being limited to less than 0.35 m over the frequency range 050 Hz. Ground acceleration measurements
were taken at 10 stations distributed across the CLS site. At
each station, simultaneous readings were taken in one vertical and two horizontal directions for the various types of
excitation that were considered. Additional tests were also
conducted with corresponding measurements recorded at
three different stations simultaneously.
Vibration events caused by general automobile traffic,
buses, and loaded gravel trucks were recorded. Snow covered the site during the measurement period, and the ground
was at least partially frozen. In these tests, gravel truck
events were found to generate the largest ground vibrations
and therefore formed the basis for subsequent analyses.
Additional tests were also performed using a mechanical
tamper to estimate the correlation between stations for a
somewhat uniform excitation source. The corresponding horizontal and vertical accelerations at three stations located
along a straight line were measured simultaneously to characterize the attenuation of ground vibrations over the foundation area.
To ensure that the ground vibration measurements were
representative of the most severe anticipated loading conditions, including the effects of varying weather conditions
and the potential for significant bumps on the roadway, a
new set of ground vibration monitoring tests was performed
in the summer. These tests featured a loaded gravel truck
traveling at 4045 km/h (the speed limit on this road is

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40 km/h) that strikes a 50 mm (2 in.) bump in the road (a


2 4 hollow structural steel (HSS) tube installed across the
driving lane). Several sets of measurements were taken, each
consisting of 10 truck events (five events with the truck
traveling in each direction along the roadway). The measurements with the most intense ground accelerations taken at
the ground surface in the location of the future machine
foundation were selected as the final design acceleration
time history.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) facility
The MRI is an advanced medical device that represents
a significant tool in the diagnosis of ailments. The device
is extremely sensitive to external vibrations. The vibration
tolerance specified by the manufacturer of the MRI unit
considered in this study is given in terms of acceleration
amplitudes as follows: 1 106g over the frequency range
010 Hz, 10 106g for the frequency range 1022 Hz; and
25 106g for the frequency range 2240 Hz.
The proposed site is situated 15 m from a busy roadway.
The soil profile at the site includes a shallow layer (5 m
thick) of silty sand underlain by weathered bedrock. Dry
conditions were encountered in the boreholes. The proposed
foundation system includes drilled shafts bearing on the bedrock. Therefore, the vibration-monitoring program included
vibration measurements in the soil layer and in the bedrock
(1.2 m below the surface of the bedrock). The accelerations
were measured along the vertical direction and two perpendicular horizontal directions. The vibration measurements
were taken at the centre of the future foundation because of
the small size of the foundation. Because of the random
nature of the traffic excitation, the vibration measurements
were represented in terms of the power spectra of the ground
acceleration measured over durations of 2, 8, and 25 s.
These power spectra were obtained by subjecting the measured acceleration time history to a Fourier transform.
The results of the monitoring program showed that the
maximum acceleration amplitudes measured in the soil layer
were 20 times greater than those measured in the bedrock.
Therefore, the soil accelerations were used in the subsequent
analysis.
Blast-induced vibration on a power plant
This case study involves a power plant facility that is subjected to blast-induced vibration from an adjacent quarry.
The proposed facility houses three turbine generator units,
each of which will be supported by an independent foundation. The blasting will occur up to 100 m from the proposed
foundations. Blasts occur on average two times a week and
last for about 0.5 s each time. The requirements of the facility dictate that the turbines must not be damaged during the
blast. The standard operational tolerances on foundation
vibrations for the turbine foundation are limited to peak
dynamic displacements of less than 0.075 mm.
The selected foundation option is a shallow foundation
system that consists of a rigid concrete slab. The soil profile
at the site consists mainly of extremely weathered bedrock.
The native soil beneath the concrete slab would be excavated
and removed to a depth of 6 m below the existing ground
surface and an engineered fill 4 m thick would be placed
prior to the foundation being constructed.
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To assess the level of seismic excitation at the site of the


future foundation resulting from blasting activities in the
quarry, an extensive ground vibration monitoring program
was carried out. This program included initial blastmonitoring of production blasts at the future turbine location
and the development of a final design acceleration time history. The ground acceleration time histories were measured
at the weathered rock in the location of the subject foundation. The acceleration time histories were measured in the
longitudinal, transverse, and vertical directions. The results
of the vibration-monitoring program showed the pattern and
vibration characteristics of the production blasts (i.e., duration of blasts, intensity of the ground vibration, and frequency content). The analysis of the results of monitoring
indicated that there was the potential for an unacceptable
foundation response.
Multiple closely spaced machine foundations
The last case study represents a fairly common situation.
It involves the response analysis of a compressor foundation
affected by its own operating load as well as the groundtransmitted vibration from another compressor situated on a
different foundation within the same facility. In this case, the
expected ground vibrations are computed rather than measured. The response analysis is discussed in the following
section.

Response analysis
The basic mathematical model used in the dynamic analysis is a lumped mass with a spring and dashpot. If the mass,
m, is able to move in only one direction, e.g., vertical, it is
said to have a single degree of freedom (SDF). The foundation block has six degrees of freedom, three translational and
three rotational. These are the displacements along the x, y,
and z axes and rotation about the same axes.
The response of the mass depends on the nature of the soil
reaction that is modeled by both the spring and the dashpot.
The stiffness and damping constants are calculated for different foundation types using the approaches described earlier. Due to the large resulting stiffness of the foundation
block or pile cap relative to that of the soil or the piles, the
foundation block can be assumed to vibrate as a rigid body.
The equation of motion for this rigid body in one direction
(i.e., SDF) when subjected to a dynamic excitation is
[5]

m && + c & + k = P(t)

where m is the mass of the system; c and k are the damping


coefficient and stiffness constant, respectively, of the foundation along the direction considered; P(t) is the loading excitation; and &&, & and are the acceleration, velocity, and
displacement of the foundation, respectively. For basic harmonic loading, the response is given by
[6]

(t) =

P
( k m ) + 2 c2
2 2

cos( t + )

where is the loading frequency and = tan1[ c/(k m 2 )]


is the phase shift.
For ground-transmitted excitation, the forcing function,
P(t), is given by {m(t)} where (t) is the absolute ground

acceleration time history measured at the location of the


future foundation. In this case, there are two approaches
used to solve for the response of the foundation. In the first
approach, the Duhamel integral of (t) is used to calculate
the relative displacement of the foundation, i.e.,
[7]

(t) =

1
0 1 D

u&& () e D(t ) sin[d (t ) d ]

where 0 = k / m , D = c / 2 km and d = 1 D2 .
The response of the machine-foundation system is influenced by both its natural frequency and the frequency content of loading. The traffic loading is transmitted to the
foundation as a combination of seismic waves propagating
in the ground at different frequencies. While eq. [7] implies
that the stiffness and damping of the foundation system are
constant, they are, in fact, frequency dependent; the use of
eq. [7] to calculate the response may therefore compromise
the resulting accuracy.
Alternatively, a Fourier analysis can be used to calculate
the response of the foundation to the transient load in the
frequency domain. In this type of analysis, the load is represented by the sum of a series of harmonic components
obtained by subjecting the load time history to a fast Fourier
transform (FFT). In the FFT, the input function x(t)
(i. e., mu&&(t)) is given as an even number, N, of equidistant
points in the time domain. The number of frequency components is limited, and for N data points, N/2 frequency components are obtained. Thus, increased accuracy can only be
obtained by increasing the number of data points.
The response of a SDF system acted on by the nth harmonic component of the load would be governed by
[8]
m && + c& + k = x ei n t
k

in which xk and n are the amplitude and frequency of that


harmonic component. The response of the system can be
related to the loading by
[9]

n(t) = H (n) x k ei n t

where H(n) is a transfer function given by


[10]

H(n) =

1
2

1 n + i 2D n
0
0

= H(n) ei

where |H(n)| is the modulus of the complex transfer function. For the current study, |H(n)| was defined using the
foundation model described in the section titled Design
procedure. The real part of the response due to the nth harmonic component is then
[11]

n(t) =

xk
H(n) cos(n t + )
k

The principle of superposition gives the total response as


(t) = n(t).
Kinematic soilstructure interaction
The kinematic interaction alters the free field motion by
virtue of the relatively stiff foundation and wave scattering
effects. When subjected to vertically propagating coherent
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shear waves, embedded foundations experience a modification in base-slab translational motions relative to the freefield, and rocking motions are introduced. These modified
foundation motions, named foundation input motions (FIM)
are used as the excitation in the analysis of inertial interaction of the equipment foundations to ground-transmitted
vibrations.
The significance of kinematic interaction depends on the
characteristics of the ground-transmitted vibration and the
size, embedment, and flexibility of the foundation. Roesset
(1980) suggests that these embedment effects are likely to be
significant for e/r (e is the embedded depth, r is the foundation radius or equivalent radius) greater than about 0.5.
Analytical and empirical studies have been performed to
examine embedment effects on foundation input motions.
Analytical studies of embedment effects have focused on
the evaluation of transfer functions expressing the amplitude
ratio of base-slab translational and rocking motions to
free-field motions (Elsabee et al. 1977; Day 1977). These
formulations are generally based on assumed vertically propagating coherent waves and the results are given in terms of
dimensionless frequency, a0. The results of these analyses
indicate significant filtering of translational motions for a0 >
0.5 and the development of a significant rocking component
for a0 > 1.0. At low frequencies, a0 < 1.5, the filtering of
foundation motions and magnitude of rocking motions increase with increasing embedment ratio, while at higher frequencies there is little sensitivity to this parameter. These
results can be contrasted with the behaviour of a surface
foundation that would have no reduction of translational motions and no rocking motions when subjected to vertically
incident coherent shear waves.
For a foundation embedded at depth e, with or without
sidewalls, and subjected to harmonic vertical and oblique
waves, the amplification functions for translational and rocking components of FIM, Iu() and I () can be estimated as
(Luco 1969; Elsabee et al. 1977; Tassoulas 1984)

[12]

e
2
cos a 0 a 0 a s
r
3

I u () =
2
0.457
a 0 > as

3
0.247
e

1 cos a 0 a 0 a s
r
I () = r
0.245
a 0 > as
r

in which as = r/2e is the dimensionless shear frequency of


soil stratum of thickness e. Empirical studies by Seed and
Lysmer (1980) and Chang et al. (1985) have documented reductions in ground motion with depth using both downhole
free-field arrays and comparisons of basement and free-field
motions. The results of their studies indicated reductions of
peak ground acceleration and high frequency spectral ordinates with depth.
Alternatively, the method proposed by Clough and
Penzien (1993) can be used to estimate the effect of kinematic interaction on the ground motion to the rigid foundation. In this method, the ratio of the amplitude of a harmonic

603

component of the rigid foundation in translation to the same


harmonic of the incident wave is given by
[13]

1
[ 2 (1 cos )]1 2

in which =

Df

2 D f

, Df is the dimension of the founVs


L
dation in the direction of wave propagation and L is the
wavelength corresponding to . The ratio varies between 1
and 0 as varies from 0 to 2. This means the -factor (i.e.,
kinematic interaction) could significantly lower the input excitation, thus reducing response accordingly.

Results of dynamic analysis


Dynamic analyses were conducted to evaluate the performance of the machine-foundation systems under the
ground-transmitted vibration. These dynamic analyses involved calculating the frequency content of the ground motions, the dynamic characteristics of the foundation systems,
and the dynamic response of the foundation systems to the
ground motions. The following sections will summarize the
results of the analysis.
Response of CLS foundation
The proposed foundation system consists of a concrete
slab 78 m 78 m and 0.35 m thick supported by 400 concrete piles. Because of the large area of the foundation, the
ground vibration measurements at stations S4 (at the edge of
slab near the road) and S5 (at the centre of the slab) were
examined as they were deemed to be most representative
of the ground vibrations that would be experienced by the
foundation. Each event included the ground vibration measurements that lasted 12 s. Different segments of the ground
vibration time history were examined to identify the critical
loading.
Force Fourier amplitudes
The inertial force time history was calculated by multiplying the measured ground acceleration time history by the
mass of the equipment and its supporting structure (assumed
to be 1.0 106 kg). The force time history was subjected to
a FFT to transfer the load into the frequency domain. Figs. 1
and 2 show the variation of the force Fourier amplitudes
with frequency at stations S5 and S4 for a truck traveling
east. It can be noted from Figs. 1 and 2 that the force amplitudes at S4 are much higher (17 times higher) than those at
S5, because of the attenuation of the ground motion between
stations S4 and S5. It can also be seen that most of the
energy at S4 is concentrated in the frequency range 400
600 rad/s (6090 Hz). The winter tests showed an energy
concentration in the frequency range 10001500 rad/s
(160240 Hz). The shift in the frequency range may be attributed to the fact that the ground was not frozen during this
set of tests. At S5, however, the energy is concentrated in the
frequency range of 100400 rad/s (1560 Hz). This can be
attributed to the fact that waves with higher frequencies attenuate faster than waves with lower frequencies. Also, this frequency range is lower than that of the winter tests, which is
consistent with the measurements at S4. It was found that the
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Fig. 1. Force Fourier amplitudes based on ground accelerations measured at S5.

Fig. 2. Force Fourier amplitudes based on ground accelerations measured at S4.

attenuation in the measurements taken in the summer (shown


in Figs. 1 and 2) was higher than it was in the winter measurements. This may be attributed to the fact that the ground was
still fully or partially frozen at the time of the winter tests.
The vibration measured at S5 (Fig. 1) was used as the
input excitation for the dynamic analysis. The vibration

measured at S4 was also used in another set of analyses, and


the wave attenuation was considered subsequently.
Stiffness and damping
The foundation is supported by 400 prestressed concrete
piles 0.6 m in diameter and 10 m in length. The stiffness and
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Fig. 3. Stiffness and damping of the CLS foundation: (a) vertical stiffness, (b) vertical damping, (c) horizontal stiffness, and (d) horizontal damping.

damping of the foundation were calculated over the frequency range of interest. Figure 3 shows the horizontal and
vertical stiffness and damping of the foundation. It can be
noted from Fig. 3 that the stiffness and damping of the foundation vary considerably with frequency, and care should be
exercised in the selection of the stiffness value used in the
dynamic analysis. It should also be noted that the stiffness

is very small in the frequency range 500700 rad/s (80


115 Hz), but the damping increases slightly. Also, the important frequency range is 400600 rad/s (6090 Hz) based
on the vibration measurements at S4 and 100400 rad/s (15
60 Hz) based on the measurements at S5. Therefore, there
are no resonance conditions based on the measurements at
S5 and limited resonance based on the measurements at S4.
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Fig. 3 (concluded).

The response is governed by the stiffness of the system not


by its damping characteristics.
Response of foundation system to ground motion
The pile cap was assumed to be rigid and to sit above the
ground. It was also assumed that there was no contact between the bottom of the slab and the ground surface (void

form of 150 mm). In other words, the soil reactions at the


base and along the sides of the slab as well as the -factor
were neglected. The piles were assumed to be fixed in the
pile cap. The inertial force due to the ground motion was
used as the dynamic excitation. Figure 4 shows that the proposed foundation would result in a satisfactory dynamic performance with maximum horizontal vibration amplitudes of
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Fig. 4. Canadian Light Source vibration amplitudes based on ground vibration measured at S5.

3.3 107 m. The vertical vibration amplitudes were found


to be less than 1 107 m, which is much lower than the
specified tolerance.
The dynamic analysis was repeated with the vibration measurements at station S4 used as the ground input motion. The
maximum horizontal vibration amplitude is 1.75 106 m.
Although the vibration amplitudes obtained using the ground
vibration measurements at S4 are higher than the specified
tolerance value of 0.35 106 m, they represent satisfactory
dynamic performance for two reasons: the -factor was neglected, and the ground motion was assumed to have the
same value at all points under the slab area (i.e., ignoring the
attenuation effect). These two assumptions overestimated the
response by a factor of 20.
Response of MRI foundation
The vibration measurements showed that ground motions
in the overburden soil are an order of magnitude higher than
those measured in the bedrock. Therefore, the response analysis was based on the ground motion measured in the soil.
Forcing function
Because of the limited extent of the foundation, only the
measurements at the location of its centre were considered
in the analysis. The FFT analysis showed that the vibration
energy was concentrated in the frequency range 100
400 rad/s (1560 Hz). The natural frequency in the horizontal vibration mode was about 22 Hz. This represented partial
resonance in that vibration mode and increased response.
Foundation stiffness and damping
The foundation is a concrete slab 4.5 m 5.7 m 0.45 m
supported by four drilled shafts each 0.9 m in diameter and
5.4 m long. The piles penetrate through a silty sand layer

with Vs = 200 m/s and rest on weathered bedrock with Vs =


2000 m/s. Figure 5 shows the variation of the stiffness and
damping with frequency. Figure 5 shows that the stiffness
and damping of the foundation vary considerably and should
be accounted for in the analysis.
Response of the foundation system to the ground motion
The foundation was considered to be rigid. Because of the
random nature of the traffic loading, the response was calculated using the random vibration approach. Figure 6 shows
the horizontal response spectrum of the foundation system.
The maximum response in the frequency range 010 Hz was
found to be 1 109 m. This corresponded to slightly less
than 0.5 106 g, which represented a satisfactory performance. Similar results were obtained for other frequency
ranges.
Response of turbine foundation to blast loading
The proposed foundation system consisted of two rigid
concrete blocks. The first was 20.75 m 33.5 m 1.8 m
and the second was 21.5 m 35 m 1.8 m. Each block
would support a turbine generator. The inertial force due to
the blast-induced ground motion was used as the dynamic
excitation force. The ground accelerations measured at the
weathered rock in the location of the proposed foundation
were designated as the design acceleration-time history.
Force Fourier amplitudes
The ground acceleration-time history with its highest
acceleration measured during the vibration monitoring program was used as the input ground motion. Figure 7 shows
the variation of the force Fourier amplitudes with frequency
for the longitudinal (x), transverse (y), and vertical (z) directions. It is noted in Fig. 7 that the force amplitudes were
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Fig. 5. Stiffness and damping of the MRI foundation: (a) vertical stiffness, (b) vertical damping, (c) horizontal stiffness, and (d) horizontal damping (1 lb/ft = 14.59 N/m).

Fig. 6. Horizontal response spectrum of the MRI foundation


(1 ft2 = 0.093 m2 ).

highest in the longitudinal (x) direction and lowest in the


transverse (y) direction and that the maximum Fourier amplitudes of the force in the longitudinal direction are almost
double those in the vertical direction. It is also noted in
Fig. 7 that most of the energy is concentrated in the frequency range 600780 rad/s (95125 Hz) for the longitudinal direction and 500920 rad/s (80150 Hz) for the vertical
direction. In the transverse direction, the energy is scattered
over the frequency range 2001000 rad/s (30160 Hz) with
a slightly higher concentration in the frequency range 680
780 rad/s (110125 Hz).
Stiffness and damping
The inspection of the frequency content of the forcing
function showed that it covers a wide range of frequencies.
Because of the uncertainty about the shear wave velocity, Vs,
of both the engineered fill after construction and the bedrock, different soil profiles were considered in the analysis.
Two main profiles were considered: a homogeneous halfspace with a uniform shear wave velocity (halfspace profile);
and a layer underlain by a homogeneous halfspace (composite medium profile). In the composite medium profile, the
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Fig. 7. Fourier amplitudes for blast loading (1 lb = 4.448 N).

shear wave velocity of the layer is assumed to be uniform


and less than the shear wave velocity of the halfspace. For
both profiles considered, the shear wave velocity of the soil
at the bottom of the foundation was assumed to be equal to
180, 240, or 300 m/s (600, 800, or 1000 ft/s). In the composite medium profile, the shear wave velocity of the halfspace
was assumed to be equal to 300 or 360 m/s (1000 or
1200 ft/s). The soil reactions along the top 1 m (3 ft) of the
foundation sides were ignored to account for any separation
between the foundation and soil along the sides.
The stiffness and damping of the foundation were calculated over the frequency range of interest. Figure 8 shows
the stiffness and damping of the foundation for the halfspace
profile. The strong variation of the vertical stiffness with frequency can be noted in Fig. 8. However, the vertical damping increases rapidly with frequency to a maximum value at
a frequency of about 140 rad/s. On the other hand, the horizontal stiffness and damping show a small variation with frequency in the frequency range of interest. Figure 9 shows
the stiffness and damping of the foundation for the composite medium profile and Vs = 180 m/s (600 ft/s) and the shear
wave velocity for the underlying halfspace is 300 m/s
(1000 ft/s). It can be noted in Fig. 9 that the vertical stiffness
could be considered constant for frequencies higher than
80 rad/s. However, the vertical damping decreases with frequency. Figure 9 also shows that the horizontal stiffness and
damping decrease quickly with frequency. Comparing the
vertical stiffness and damping from the two profiles, it can
be noted that the composite medium yielded higher vertical
stiffness values (almost double) and much smaller damping
values than the halfspace profile. Similar observations can
be made for the horizontal direction, especially for damping.
It should be noted that the stiffness assumes negative values

due to the inertial effect of the foundation. However, the


total stiffness (stiffness and damping) of the foundation system is positive.
Response of the foundation system to the ground motion
The foundation was assumed to be rigid and embedded in
the ground. It was also assumed that there was no contact
between the upper 1 m (3 ft) of the sides of the slab and the
adjacent soil. The inertial force due to the ground motion
was used as the dynamic excitation force.
The natural frequencies of the machine-foundation system
were found to be 6.7 and 10 Hz for the horizontal and vertical vibration modes, respectively. Therefore, resonance conditions would not occur. The response was calculated for
different values of shear wave velocities for both profiles.
The composite medium with Vs = 240 m/s and reduced
damping resulted in a maximum vertical displacement of
0.066 mm (0.00022 ft) as shown in Fig. 10.
The vibration amplitudes obtained using the ground vibration measurements are very close to the specified tolerance
value of 0.075 mm and the total vibration amplitudes (i.e.,
including the vibration amplitudes due to normal machine
operation) may exceed the specified tolerance. However,
they represent satisfactory dynamic performance. The analysis assumed that the entire foundation would vibrate in phase
under the effect of the ground vibration introduced at the
centre of the foundation. This assumption overestimated the
vibration of this specific foundation by an order of two to
three (i.e., the -factor). This factor depends on the wavelengths of the seismic waves relative to the dimensions of
the rigid foundation. It is expected that this effect will reduce the vibration amplitudes by about 50% resulting in a
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Fig. 8. Stiffness and damping of a foundation resting on a halfspace (1 lb/ft = 14.59 N/m).

maximum vibration amplitude due to the blast loading of


less than 0.033 mm (0.00011 ft).
Response of two adjacent machine foundations
A common arrangement in cogeneration plants is to have
two or more units; each consisting of a generator, a compressor, and accessory equipment and each supported on a
separate foundation. If these units are closely spaced, the vibrations emanating from one unit would induce additional
vibrations on the other units. The case study considered in-

volves two units. The foundation of each unit is a concrete


block 14 m 21 m 1.5 m supported by 130 concrete piles.
The soil profile at the site consisted of the following layers
starting from the ground surface: 1 m of engineered fill
(sand with Vs = 160 m/s), 2.7 m of sand clay (Vs = 165 m/s),
8 m of clay (Vs = 185 m/s), 6.5 m of clay till (Vs = 250 m/s)
and Empress dense sand (Vs = 450 m/s). The pile penetrated
the clay layers and rested on the Empress dense sand. The
top of the concrete block is 3.5 m below the finished floor
level. The distance between the two foundations is 3 m
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Fig. 8 (concluded).

edge-to-edge. The response at the edge of each foundation


under the harmonic loading from the operation of its own
supported equipment was calculated using eq. [6]. The vibration amplitude r , at a distance r from the vertical axis of
the foundation can be evaluated approximately by (Barkan
1962)
12

[14]

r
r = 0 0 e (r r0 )
r

where 0 is the foundation amplitude, r0 is the distance of


the foundation edge from its vertical axis, and is the empirical coefficient ranging from 0 to 0.1 m1. The higher the
ability of the soil particles to slide against each other, the
better the damping characteristics of the ground at applied
cyclic loads. Therefore, the magnitude of is higher for
cohesionless soils (0.050.1 for sand), lower for cohesive
soils (0.020.04 for clay), and zero for rock. Equation [14]
was derived assuming surface waves whose vertical axis is
greater than its horizontal axis. However, the physical prop 2003 NRC Canada

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Fig. 9. Stiffness and damping of foundation resting on a composite medium (1 lb/ft = 14.59 N/m).

erties of the soil medium differ considerably from the ideal


properties assumed in the theory. Consequently, the motion
actually observed differs from the theoretical pattern
(Barkan 1962). Hence, for practical calculations the horizontal amplitude may be considered equal to the vertical one.
The vibration amplitudes at the edges and centre of the adjacent foundation were evaluated using eq. [14] (assuming =
0.05), and an average vibration amplitude, ave, in each
vibration mode was calculated.

There are two methods to account for the additional vibration from adjacent foundations. The calculated average
amplitude can be used to calculate the acceleration of the
ground motion as
[15]

&& = 2
ave

This acceleration amplitude would then be multiplied by


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Fig. 9 (concluded).

culate the input inertial (harmonic) force. This force would


be used in eq. [6] to calculate the additional vibration amplitudes due to the adjacent vibrating equipment. The total
vibration amplitude would be calculated as the sum of the
additional vibration amplitudes and the vibration amplitudes
of the foundation under its own load.
Alternatively, an upper bound on the total vibration amplitudes can be evaluated by superimposing the average vibration amplitudes directly on the vibration amplitude of

the foundation due to its own load. This solution was


adopted in the case history reported herein. The average vibration amplitudes due to the adjacent foundation were approximately 50% of the foundation vibration amplitudes
under its own load.

Summary and conclusions


The paper presents some rational approaches for the
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Fig. 10. Vibration of turbine generator foundation due to blast loading (composite medium) (1 ft = 0.3048 m).

response evaluation of foundations supporting vibrationsensitive equipment to ground-borne excitations, incorporating the dynamic characteristics of both the foundation system
and the seismic excitation. The analysis of four different case
histories that involved the response of foundations supporting
vibration-sensitive equipment to ground-transmitted excitation
was demonstrated. The following conclusions can be made:
(1) When designing a foundation for vibration-sensitive
equipment, a ground vibration-monitoring program
should be carefully planned and executed to assess the
level of seismic excitation at the proposed site caused
by ground-transmitted vibration from external sources.
(2) The stiffness and damping of a shallow foundation
should be based on proper modeling of the actual soil
profile. The stiffness functions of layers differ substantially from those of the halfspace because the geometric
damping vanishes below the first layer resonance. Thus,
the widely used halfspace model seriously overestimates
the damping and underestimates the stiffness. The halfspace model may lead to a gross underestimation of the
response of a foundation resting on a layer of limited
thickness underlain by a hard stratum.
(3) The effect of kinematic interaction on the ground motion to the rigid foundation (i.e., the -factor) should be
taken into consideration in the response analysis of large
foundations subjected to ground-transmitted excitations.
(4) In cogeneration plants with two or more units, the vibrations emanating from one unit would induce additional
vibrations on other units. If these units are closely
spaced, the additional vibration should be taken into
consideration when evaluating the dynamic performance
of the foundation.

Ackowledgements
The author would like to thank Dr. Bruce Sparling of
the University of Saskatchewan, Mr. Eric Norum and
Mr. Dan Lowe of the CLS management group, and
Mr. Nizar Dhanani of UMA Engineering Ltd., Saskatoon,
for their contributions in facilitating the study of the CLS
foundation.

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