Vibration and Frequency

Vibration and Frequency

In structural engineering, modal analysis uses the overall mass and stiffness of a structure to find the various periods at which it will naturally resonate. These periods of vibration are very important to note in earthquake engineering, as it is imperative that a building’s natural frequency does not match the frequency of expected earthquakes in the region in which the building is to be constructed. If a structure’s natural frequency matches an earthquake’s frequency, the structure may continue to resonate and experience structural damage. Modal analysis is also important in structures such as bridges where the engineer should attempt to keep the natural frequencies away from the frequencies of people walking on the bridge. This may not be possible and for this reasons when groups of people are to walk along a bridge, for example a group of soldiers, the recommendation is that they break their step to avoid possibly significant excitation frequencies. Other natural excitation frequencies may exist and may excite a bridge’s natural modes. Engineers tend to learn from such examples (at least in the short term) and more modern suspension bridges take account of the potential influence of wind through the shape of the deck, which might be designed in aerodynamic terms to pull the deck down against the support of the structure rather than allow it to lift.

Ref. Wikipedia