The world of construction is full of many environmental factors and considerations that need to be accounted for to ensure structural integrity. While the shear resistance and total strength are important parts of the puzzle, it’s actually the phenomenon of vibrations that often need more planning and consideration. As such, it’s important to work with the most experienced steel fabrication companies in the field to deliver you a quality product that performs perfectly for decades to come. Since 1967, Sanilac Steel has proudly served as the go-to structural steel fabricators for Michigan projects, delivering unbeatable products at affordable prices. Today, we’ll venture deeper into the world of vibrations and how much of an impact they can have throughout the lifetime of a structure. When you are in need of expert structural steel fabrication and installation, be sure to contact Sanilac Steel today to see how we can help!

Explaining Vibration

Everyone should know what vibration is to some degree. From the car blasting its stereo late at night to the cell phone ringing in your pocket, vibration comes in many shapes and sizes. This phenomenon can be broken down into cycles based on amplitude and frequency:

  • Frequency is a measurement of the length of the vibration wave. The frequency is measured from a specific point on the wave to the same spot on the next wave, creating a set of intervals. Frequency is measured in Hertz (Hz) to see how many changes the vibration undergoes in one second.
  • Amplitude is the measurement of the height of a wave as it moves away from the midline of the wave to the farthest point on the spectrum. The smaller your amplitude, the quicker the wave oscillates, or moves from the high to low point.

Designing a steel structure requires ample planning to account for and minimize the effects of vibration. Weak points in the design will need to be reinforced to help dampen the movements of vibration. Damping is the act of interrupting or dispelling energy in order to minimize vibrations.

Vibrations vs. Structures

These movements come from a variety of sources that combine to vibrate the building. Vibration is simply the act of an object storing and dispersing energy, which can come from heavy machinery, the exterior sources such as traffic and the wind, and regular human movements. If you have lived in the lower floor of an apartment, we’re confident that you experienced the sound and vibration of footsteps from human traffic above. Dampening measures should be taken in order to minimize the daily vibrations felt by its inhabitants. Hospitals, for example, would not do well with excessive vibrations interrupting surgeries and patient resting schedules. Factories and industrial plants can also benefit from equipment dampening, as the act of reducing vibration works to reduce the overall volume.

Minimizing the Effects

When it comes to vibrations, three basic principles come into play that need to be addressed in order to minimize any long-term issues once the building is occupied. Calculating the magnitude of expected vibration and how often the frequency will occur can help to make decisions for:

  • Nuisance. The human element of any building falls into this category, where low amplitudes of vibration can cause discomfort on a daily basis. If the vibrations are too much, long-term complications can occur. Typically, builders will need to mostly focus on this aspect, as machines and people tend to create much of the vibration while also being the most sensitive to it.
  • Strength. It is crucial to design a building that has the strength to resist peak dynamic forces that can be placed on the structure. Vibrations place more stress on materials compared to static weights, causing the need for additional support. The dynamic movement of this phenomenon is much more intense than the mentioned static load.
  • Fatigue. Over time, heavy vibrations can lead to cracks, creating a major structural concern. These cracks stem from repeated cyclic loads, or vibrations during movement. Bridges, for example, experience a lot of stress on a daily basis, making fatigue a major concern. The beauty of steel is that the limited stress is below the level in which fatigue would occur, effectively negating this concern. The connections, though, may be at risk for suffering fatigue.

When it comes to steel structure design, a lot of factors need to be accounted for to ensure the best outcomes. Putting in the proper measures now will ensure a lifetime of quiet, calm service for the building’s inhabitants. Otherwise, you may be stuck with a disruptive structure that disturbs people and equipment. It’s essential to work with the experienced steel fabrication companies to ensure that your products are built precisely to the required standards. Sanilac Steel is here to provide a wide range of services to the construction industry. From ornamental metal work to crane rentals, you’re sure to find what you need with our team. If you are seeking quality structural steel fabricators in Michigan, be sure to contact us today!