Simple solution to shaking floors

A team of civil engineers in Brazil has come up with a simple solution to stop your office floor shaking every time a truck goes by.

How to prevent shaking floors from outside traffic.
How to prevent shaking floors from outside traffic.

According to Wendell Varela of Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, vibration of modern buildings in urban environments can be a real problem for those who live and work in them.

Reducing vibrations

Writing in the latest issue of ICE’s Structures and Buildings journal, he says vibration can be caused by ‘heavy vehicles, trains and subways, blasting and pile driving, machines installed in the buildings and human activities over slab floors, as well as earthquake and wind actions’.

Options for reducing vibration include attaching tuned mass dampers to floor slabs, installing base-isolation pads between ground floor columns and foundations, building trenches filled with bentonite, or extending basement walls. But they are all very expensive.

Low-cost, effective

While investigating chronic vibration problems in a 10-storey public office building in Rio, the authors came up with a far cheaper and quicker solution. This was to install standard steel building props, with rubber pads at their tops, between the floor slabs at every storey.

Using three-dimensional finite-element modelling, the solution was found to reduce with peak acceleration by up to 50%. The props were duly installed on the road side of building – and the complaints stopped.

For more information, please contact the ICE Proceedings editor Simon Fullalove on +44 20 7665 2448 or at [email protected].