Project Title Vibration of Steel-Framed Floors Supporting Sensitive Equipment in Hospitals, Research Facilities, and Manufacturing Facilities
Principal Investigator Brad Davis
Research Institution University of Kentucky
Project Period 2011 - 2012

Overview and Objectives: The current design method for sensitive equipment floors produces predictions that are sometimes counterintuitive and probably conservative. The consequence for an individual project is that a concrete system might be chosen over steel. The underlying assumption of most designers is that “floor vibration isn’t a problem for concrete systems but it might be for steel systems,” so if they are unable to show with calculations that the steel system is adequate, they often steer the project toward concrete. However, a steel framed floor is often adequate to support sensitive equipment with little modification from the default system for a given project. Therefore, a critical task is providing engineers with accurate and practical means of proving during design that the steel system will be adequate.

Work Description: The scope of this research encompasses three main tasks:

  1. Development of accurate, experimentally verified design methods for vibration serviceability of steel-framed floor systems supporting sensitive equipment in hospitals, research facilities, and manufacturing facilities.
  2. Investigation of existing steel-framed floor systems to determine which systems possess the greatest potential for successful implementation for the support of sensitive equipment.
  3. Development of innovative steel-framed floor systems that will have better vibration resistance than current systems.

Deliverables: The research will result in improved methods for evaluating vibration serviceability of steel-framed floors supporting sensitive equipment. It will also develop framing schemes and innovations that will reduce vibration in steel framed floors.

Benefit: Design engineers will be able to use the improved methods to evaluate and approve proposed steel-framed floor systems to support sensitive equipment and possibly avoid using reinforced concrete systems. Steel-framed floor systems designed using the improved methods are anticipated to be much more economical than floors designed using the current method.

Milestones: Task 1 has been completed.



(image courtesy of Dr. Davis)