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Structural Dynamics

 The essence of earthquake effects on structures is the dynamic nature of earthquake loading.
Mechanics as a branch of physics is subdivided into statics and dynamics.
 Statics studies systems in static equilibrium, i.e., in a state where the system internal forces
counterbalance external forces acting on the system.
 Static refers to the fact that the state of the system and the applied forces do not vary in
time; they are time-independent.
 Dynamics is the study of systems subject to time-varying applied forces.
 As a consequence of the time variability of the applied forces, the system’s internal forces
and its state (defined in terms of displacement and deformation) also vary with time — the
system’s response involves motion.
 While a static problem has a single time-independent solution, the solution of a dynamic
problem involves a description of the system’s state at every time point within the period
of study.
 The appearance of inertia effects associated with mass in motion is another key distinction
of dynamic problems.
 Structural dynamics can be considered as the study of a body or structure in dynamic
 The mathematical expression of this equilibrium is the equation of motion
 While the static equilibrium equation expresses the balance between the structure’s internal
forces and externally applied forces, the equation of motion expresses the equilibrium of
internal and external force terms (which are exactly the same as in the static equilibrium
equation) and the mass inertia and damp ing effects.
 As the inertia term involves the second derivative and the damping term the first derivative
of the displacement with respect to time, the equation of motion is a second-order
differential equation with constant coefficients.

Modal Analysis and Structural Dynamics

 Modal Analysis is the study of the dynamic character of a system which is defined
independently from the loads applied to the system and the response of the system.
 Structural dynamics is the study of how structures respond when subjected to applied loads.
Many times, in one form or another, the modal characteristics of the structure is used to
determine the response of the system.
Causes and effects of structural vibration
Increasing vehicle weights and traffic volumes, requires that designers take vibration of
structures into account at the design stage. Sometimes the trouble caused by vibration is merely
the nuisance resulting from sound transmission or the feeling of insecurity arising from the
swaying of tall buildings and light structures such as certain types of footbridge. Occasionally,
however, vibration can lead to dynamic instability, fatigue cracking or incremental plastic
deformations. The first two types of problem may lead to a reduction in utilization of a
structure. The latter may lead to costly repairs if discovered in time or, if not, to complete
failure with possible loss of human life.
Long-term vibration induced by traffic can lead to fatigue in structural elements and should not
be underestimated. A number of old railway bridges have started to develop fatigue cracks in
the gusset plates, which have had to be replaced. The effect of traffic is not confined to bridges
– it must also be taken into account when the foundations of buildings situated next to railway
lines or roads carrying heavy traffic are being designed. It is interesting that many ancient
buildings such as cathedrals, which have been built next to main roads, tend to lean towards
the road and, in many cases, also show signs of cracks as a result of centuries of minute
amplitude vibrations caused by carts passing on the cobbled road surfaces.
A fault trace is the intersection of a geological faultwith the ground surface, leaving a
visible mark. A fault scarp is a small step or offset on the ground surface where one
side of a fault has moved vertically with respect to the other.