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Floor Dynamics

Computer Analysis Methods

What causes Floor Vibration?

Footfall frequency interacting with the floors natural frequency.

Floor Resonance


Lower Natural
matches footfall

under Footfall

Low Mass

Less energy
required to excite

person can
excite floor

Problem Market trends:

Adaptable Buildings Longer spans

e.g. Fabricated beams (Cellbeams), Engineered timber, PT slabs, Pre-cambered beams

Construction Speeds Steel frames / Precast


Residential, Hospitals

Minimise Building materials Lower mass

e.g. High grade steels/concretes, trusses, Lightweight concrete, Voided slabs, Light Gauge
Steel Floors

Minimise Building Height Shallower structure

e.g. Slimflor, CLT

Design Efficiency Leaner Structures

e.g. Computer analysis, Lower Live Loads, Lower ULS load factors (Eurocodes)

Architectural Drivers

e.g. Cantilevers, Steel staircases

How do we measure vibration?

Humans perceive acceleration (frequency) more than
magnitude (amplitude)

Flexible, lightweight Higher Floor Acceleration

Irritated occupants??

Adverse Comment

Solution. Quantify the anticipated acceleration

Analyse Dynamic Performance of floor
Calculate Floor Response to footfall excitation

Limiting frequency (e.g. 4Hz) tries to tune out of 1st Walking

but ignores:
Complex floor systems e.g. slab-secondaryprimary
Footfall sub-harmonics
Unconventional buildings e.g. hospitals, discos.

Guidance Documents
To help?
General Design Standards
BS 5950-1 - Structural use of steelwork in building- Rolled and welded
BS EN 1993-1.1 - Eurocode 3: Design of steel structures. General
rules and rules for buildings
Performance Standards
BS 6841- Guide to measurement and evaluation of human exposure to
whole-body mechanical vibration and repeated shock
BS 6472-1 - Guide to the Evaluation of human exposure to vibration in
Design Guides
SCI Publication 354: Design of Floors for Vibration A New Approach
Concrete Centre: A Design Guide for Footfall Induced Vibration of

Floor Acceleration

Steel frames (SCI P354)

Excitation Force
Weighting Factor for Human

at location of

at location of

Modal Mass

Dynamic Magnification
Factor: Relationship between

the forcing frequency and the

natural frequency (and damping)

Damping (0.5 - 3%)

- 2% General Office
- 0.5% stairs

Natural Frequency(ies)
f0 = Lowest (Fundamental) Frequency (oscillation
f0, f1, f2, f3, f5, fn
Individual beams have different modes of oscillation
In floor systems, floor modes can be made up of
simple beam modes but offset from each other

Amplitude n
Amplitude n of Oscillation Mode
Unity Normalised
@ Excitation Point & Response Point (or the same)

Modal Mass Mn
Modal Mass Mn of Oscillation Mode
Larger floor plates / greater continuity Larger mass to get moving
Mass (kg) of slab
region being

Excitation Force Fh
Forcing Function: Impulse Force with Time (Normal Walking: 1.7 to 2.4Hz)

Dynamic Magnification Factor Dn,h

Floor Response Functions for different harmonics of driving function (2Hz Pace)

Forcing Function: 1st Harmonic and sub-harmonics

Sub-harmonics: frequencies are factors higher, smaller amplitudes & out of

Floor Response (Acceleration)

Excitation Force
Weighting Factor for Human

at location of

at location of

Modal Mass

Dynamic Magnification
Factor: Relationship between

the forcing frequency and the

natural frequency (and damping)

Force: -per walking harmonic

DFM: -per Oscillation Mode

Square Root
Sum of the


-per Walking Harmonic

-per Oscillation Mode

-per Oscillation Mode

-per Walking Harmonic

Damping (0.5 - 3%)

- 2% General Office
- 0.5% stairs

Computer Assessment Procedure

1. Build Model of Floor Plate

Modify Design
Modify Assumptions

3.0Hz < f0

2. Unstressed Vibration Analysis:

Fundamental Natural frequency (lowest Oscillation
mode) f0

3.0Hz < f0 < 10.0 Hz

3. Output Data:
Natural Frequency : each Oscillation mode f0,f1,f2
Modal Mass : 1 per Floor Oscillation mode M1, M2, M3..
Nodal Deflections
Every FE node (or critical location)
Every Floor Oscillation mode

4. Calculate Floor Response Factor(s)

Steady State Response: Every FE node (or critical)
Transient Response: Every FE node (or critical)
Result Sensitivity?
Very walking speed?, Vary damping %?,
Alternative modelling parameters?

R > Limit

4. Check Acceptance Criteria:


Computer Models
Objective: Simplify floor structure to an idealised
model of dynamic performance:

Steel Frame

Steel frame

Dynamic Support Conditions: Continuous or simple

-Beams fully fixed to columns
-Beams fully fixed to shear walls
-Column stiffness modelled
-Additional supports e.g. Cladding provides edge support to

Concrete Slab

FE Plate/ Shell- to replicate Composite Slab.

Elements are constant thickness so Ribbed slab cant be
replicated with two I values:
So must modify Elastic Mod (to modify EI)
Orthotropic Shells Ideally (Ex,Ey)- But S-Frame only
allows isotropic elements

Slab continuity- Cracking, Construction Joints?

Concrete Shell

FE Analysis
Beff /

Elastic Modulus
Concrete Short-term Ec: ~ 38kNmm2 (NWC)

Shell (Concrete): Material property (E) value

Composite Slab: Second Moment of area (Concrete +
Metal Deck)
Composite Beam: Second Moment of area (I)
(equivalent steel section)

Basic Material Properties (S-frame)

Steel (Unchanged)
Beam (Equivalent Steel Section
of Dynamic Composite Beam

Loading Combination (Static Mass Present)

Floor loading = 1 * DL + 0.1* IL


FE Analysis
Slab-Beam Interaction



Option A (Ideal) Steel Beam + rigid offset +

Orthotropic Shell Elements:

Ecx (Larger)

Rigid Offset (-y mm)

Beam & slab form couple.

Slab Elastic moduli modified to account for I
But do beams-slab behave as composite?

Option B- Composite Beam level with

shell (Orthotropic) Composite Beam I values to
account for composite stiffness.

Option C- Composite Beam with Isotropic

Shell Modify Composite Beam properties to
account for slab stiffnesses
Easiest but less accurate.




Ecx (Larger)



Icomp mod


Option A (Ideal Case)

Offset Beam Elements

Slab Compression

Beam Bending (Reduced)

Beam Tension

Constructing Model
1.Build floor in Fastrak (Dynamic Combination)

-to get simply supported results for validation (moment, deflection)

2.Build stick model (steel) in analysis software:

panel loading or line loads. Apply dynamic support conditions
(additional fixity). Get static results for validation.

3.Construct FE model


Stick Frame

Rectangular (quadrilateral) elements should suffice in SFrame (easiest) as stress concentration is not important.
Restrict floor plate size slows analysis and might need
50+ oscillation modes to find all under 15Hz!

4.Run static analysis.

Inspect how loads are transferred to columns. Through

beams or slab bending?
Get results for validation.
VALIDATE Static Results!

FE Model

5.Run Dynamic Analysis

-Increase number of iterations if software fails to complete analysis.

FE Dynamic Results

FE Static Results

Unstressed Analyses

Oscillation Modes

Output Data
Natural Frequencies

Modal Masses


Response(s) Calculation

Response Spreadsheet- All Nodes

Response Limits
What is the acceptance criteria?
Response Factors are based on the base curve 1 in BS6472
e.g. R8 = base curve x 8
Higher Response Factor, the more the bouncy the floor.

Steady State Limits for low probability of adverse

comment e.g.

Hospital Operating Theatre R = 1

Residential (day)
R = 2 to 4

General Office
R = 4 to 8

R = 20 to 30

Graphical Results
Contour Plots ideal (but software difficult to find).

Exceeding Limits?
Computer Analysis conservative but might still
exceed Response limit
Reduction Factors
Excitation / Response Locations

If Receiver and exciter arent in same location- fix

Response location (i.e. critical location) and take
corresponding e values of neighbouring points.

Failing that..

Vibration Dose Values (VDVs)

Calculation permits higher Response Factor for

intermittent occurrences.
High responses are acceptable if intermittent, but
not constantly.

Resonant Build up Factor

Travel distance measurement can reduce Steady

State Peak
-i.e. walking for a short time so vibration doesnt
reach steady state (max)

Modify Model / assumptions!

Exciter Point 1
= 1.0

Exciter Point 2
= 0.05

Receiver Point

Any Questions?
Read SCI P354!