All Volumes (2001-2008)


Volume V, 2006

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The primary objective of this project was to develop a laboratory demonstrator of structural vibrations. When the ground moves under a structure the effect on that structure is dependent upon the relationship between the frequency of the ground motion and the natural frequency of the structure. As this relationship, the frequency ratio, approaches one (1) the effect is at its most extreme. Mass, height, density of materials, modulus of elasticity, Poisson’s Ratio, damping, and bracing are variables that dictate a structure’s natural frequency. Comprehending the effects of these variables on a structure’s natural frequency and subsequently the effects on have worked problems on paper and come up with numbers but do not have a conceptual understanding. This demonstrator illustrates those effects. In the simplest of terms, this demonstrator simulates an earthquake. A two story structures of aluminum framing and plywood flooring has been built for demonstrations. The demonstrations can be useful to several classes: Static and Dynamics – two junior year courses required for all engineering disciplines; Mechanics of Materials – a required course for civil engineers; Structural Design and Structural Analysis – two required courses for civil engineers. The initial demonstration was performed with an audience and video taped. The video is available through the Department of Engineering for viewing. The project will become a permanent piece of equipment in the structural testing lab of the engineering department. It will be available for future demonstration. Additionally, it will be a tremendous stepping-stone for other student in the engineering department. For example, if a student or group of students wanted to do research on a new method for earthquake damage prevention for their senior project, it would be a valuable asset.

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