Active control of floor vibrations

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Virginia Tech


The active control of structures is a diverse field of study, with new applications being developed continually. One structural system, which is often not considered a dynamic system, is the floor of a building. In many cases the dynamics of a floor system are neglected in the design phase of a building structure. Occasionally, this omission results in a floor which has dynamic characteristics found to be unacceptable for the intended use of the building. Floor motion of very small amplitudes, often caused by pedestrian movement, is sometimes found objectionable by occupants of the building space. Improving an unacceptable floor system's dynamic characteristics after construction can be disruptive, difficult and costly.

In search of alternative repair measures, analytical and experimental research implementing active control techniques was conducted to improve the vibration characteristics of problem floors. Specifically, a control scheme was developed utilizing the measured movement of the floor to compute the input signal to an electromagnetic actuator which, by the movement of the actuator reaction mass, supplies a force that reduces the transient and resonant vibration levels. Included in the analytical component of this research is the development of a mathematical model for a full scale experimental test floor. This model is studied, using a matrix computation software, to evaluate the effectiveness of the control scheme. The experimental component of the research serves two purposes. The first is the verification of the system behavior assumed in the analytical component of the research. The second is the verification of control system effectiveness for various excitations, control gains, and actuator locations on the experimental test floor and six additional floors.