VSimulators: Cutting-edge facilities for research into structural vibration serviceability


Cutting-edge facilities for human factors research in relation to vibration serviceability for structures


VSimulators was created primarily to support a major overhaul of design guidance for vibration serviceability in two major applications: the low frequency sway of tall buildings and the higher frequency bounce of lively floors. Existing guidance, which is well past its sell-by date, was usually developed based on limited and sometimes compromised experimental observations, primarily aimed at perception thresholds. The chain of evidence is often tenuous, with highly subjective observations and acceptance criteria that are demonstrably inappropriate.

VSimulators research will adopt a cross-disciplinary scientific approach and appropriate testing protocols but, most importantly, accounting for environmental factors in buildings which are known to have significant influence on user experience. Environment is simulated through different forms of physical and virtual reality in VSim@Bath (tall building sway) and VSim@Exeter (floor and other high frequency vibration).

The first users of VSim@Exeter are undergraduate students studying use of response factors in design and a PhD student studying human lateral stability relating to human-structure interaction. VSim@Bath currently supports two ongoing PhD projects, one dealing with assessing acceptability of wind-induced vibrations in tall building office environments, focusing on a phenomenon known as sopite syndrome, the other relating to the impact of indoor air quality on productivity in offices. We will describe the VSimulators facility, show the research in action and present early results.

About the speakers

Prof James Brownjohn (DEng, FIMechE, FIStrutE) is a member of the Vibration Engineering Section, based at the University of Exeter. His academic career has focused on experimental assessment of the performance of a wide range of civil structures using full-scale dynamic testing, long-term monitoring and physical motion simulation. He is a director of Full-Scale Dynamics Ltd, a University spin-off company that specialises in managing performance of civil structures dynamically excited by actions of machinery, humans and wind. He is Principal Investigator for the new Exeter VSimulators facility (VSim@Exeter) which will study human experience with moving structures in virtual reality.

Dr Antony Darby (BSc hons, PhD, MIStructE) is a Reader in Structural Engineering within the Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering at the University of Bath and is Head of the Civil Engineering Group. His research expertise lies in dynamic testing, active and passive control of structures and, more recently, human perception and acceptability of dynamic motion. Prior to coming to Bath 20 years ago, he was instrumental in pioneering the real-time dynamic substructure testing at the University of Oxford. He is Principal Investigator for the new Bath VSimulators facility (VSim@Bath), developed to allow multi-disciplinary research into human experience to tall building sway incorporating environmental influences and virtual reality.

Further information

This event is organised by SECED. The event will be chaired by Ian G Smith (Atkins). The event will held in-person at the Institution of Civil Engineers (see below). Attendance at this meeting is free. Seats are allocated on a first come, first served basis. Tea, coffee and biscuits will be served from 5.30pm - 6pm. The event will also be broadcast online. Further details about the event will be posted soon. 

Event Details

Event Date 24/11/2021 6:00 pm
Location Institution of Civil Engineers

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