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Structural dynamics

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Structural dynamics is a subset of structural analysis which covers the behaviour of
structures subjected to dynamic loading. Dynamic loads include people, wind, waves,
traffic, earthquakes, and blasts. Any structure can be subject to dynamic loading.
Dynamic analysis can be used to find dynamic displacements, time history, and modal
A static load is one which does not vary. A dynamic load is one which changes with time.
If it changes slowly, the structure's response may be determined with static analysis, but if
it varies quickly (relative to the structure's ability to respond), the response must be
determined with a dynamic analysis.
Dynamic analysis for simple structures can be carried out manually, but for complex
structures finite element analysis can be used to calculate the mode shapes and
frequencies. An open-source, lightweight, free software DYSSOLVE can be used to solve
basic structural dynamics problems.Contents [hide]
1 Displacements
2 Time history analysis
2.1 Example
3 Damping
4 Modal analysis
4.1 Energy method
4.2 Modal response
5 Modal participation factor
6 External links
A dynamic load can have a significantly larger effect than a static load of the same
magnitude due to the structure's inability to respond quickly to the loading (by
deflecting). The increase in the effect of a dynamic load is given by the dynamic
amplification factor (DAF):
where u is the deflection of the structure due to the applied load.
Graphs of dynamic amplification factors vs non-dimensional rise time (tr/T) exist for
standard loading functions (for an explanation of rise time, see time history analysis
below). Hence the DAF for a given loading can be read from the graph, the static
deflection can be easily calculated for simple structures and the dynamic deflection
Time history analysis

A full time history will give the response of a structure over time during and after the
application of a load. To find the full time history of a structure's response you must solve
the structure's equation of motion.
A simple single degree of freedom system (a mass, M, on a spring of stiffness, k for
example) has the following equation of motion:
where is the acceleration (the double derivative of the displacement) and x is the
If the loading F(t) is a Heaviside step function (the sudden application of a constant load),
the solution to the equation of motion is:
where and the fundamental natural frequency, .
The static deflection of a single degree of freedom system is:
so you can write, by combining the above formulae:
x = xstatic[1 cos(t)]
This gives the (theoretical) time history of the structure due to a load F(t), where the false
assumption is made that there is no damping.
Although this is too simplistic to apply to a real structure, the Heaviside Step Function is
a reasonable model for the application of many real loads, such as the sudden addition of
a piece of furniture, or the removal of a prop to a newly cast concrete floor. However, in
reality loads are never applied instantaneously - they build up over a period of time (this
may be very short indeed). This time is called the rise time.
As the number of degrees of freedom of a structure increases it very quickly becomes too
difficult to calculate the time history manually - real structures are analysed using nonlinear finite element analysis software.
Any real structure will dissipate energy (mainly through friction). This can be modelled
by modifying the DAF:
DAF = 1 + e c

where and is typically 2%-10% depending on the type of construction:

Bolted steel ~6%
Reinforced concrete ~ 5%
Welded steel ~ 2%
Generally damping would be ignored for non-transient events (such as wind loading or
crowd loading), but would be important for transient events (for example, an impulse
load such as a bomb blast).
Modal analysis
A modal analysis calculates the frequency modes or natural frequencies of a given
system, but not necessarily its full time history response to a given input. The natural
frequency of a system is dependent only on the stiffness of the structure and the mass
which participates with the structure (including self-weight). It is not dependent on the
load function.
It is useful to know the modal frequencies of a structure as it allows you to ensure that the
frequency of any applied periodic loading will not coincide with a modal frequency and
hence cause resonance, which leads to large oscillations.
The method is:
Find the natural modes (the shape adopted by a structure) and natural frequencies
Calculate the response of each mode
Optionally superpose the response of each mode to find the full modal response to a
given loading
Energy method
It is possible to calculate the frequency of different mode shapes of system manually by
the energy method. For a given mode shape of a multiple degree of freedom system you
can find an "equivalent" mass, stiffness and applied force for a single degree of freedom
system. For simple structures the basic mode shapes can be found by inspection, but it is
not a conservative method. Rayleigh's principle states:
"The frequency of an arbitrary mode of vibration, calculated by the energy method, is
always greater than - or equal to - the fundamental frequency n."
For an assumed mode shape , of a structural system with mass, M; stiffness, EI (Young's
modulus, E, multiplied by the second moment of area, I); and applied force, F(x):

then, as above:

Modal response
The complete modal response to a given load F(x,t) is . The summation can be carried out
by one of three common methods:
Superpose complete time histories of each mode (time consuming, but exact)
Superpose the maximum amplitudes of each mode (quick but conservative)
Superpose the square root of the sum of squares (good estimate for well-separated
frequencies, but unsafe for closely spaced frequencies)
To superpose the individual modal responses manually, having calculated them by the
energy method:
Assuming that the rise time tr is known (T = 2/), it is possible to read the DAF from a
standard graph. The static displacement can be calculated with . The dynamic
displacement for the chosen mode and applied force can then be found from:
umax = ustaticDAF
Modal participation factor
For real systems there is often mass participating in the forcing function (such as the
mass of ground in an earthquake) and mass participating in inertia effects (the mass of the
structure itself, Meq). The modal participation factor is a comparison of these two
masses. For a single degree of freedom system = 1.

External links
Structural Dynamics Testing/Modal Analysis
DYSSOLVE: Dynamic System Solver
Structural Dynamics and Vibration Laboratory of McGill University
Frame3DD open source 3D structural dynamics analysis program
Frequency response function from modal parameters
Categories: Structural analysis | Dynamics
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This page was last modified on 20 June 2011 at 21:49.

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