Case Studies

Using the Exeter VSimulator and FRP Bridge to Investigate the Vibration Sensitivity of Active People


University of Exeter PhD student Nimmy Abraham will be using the VSimulator facility and the FRP (Fibre Reinforced Polymer) Bridge facility at Exeter Science Park, to explore the vibration comfort of a person walking, bobbing and jumping on a vibrating structure.

This study concentrates on active rather than the more frequently researched passive (i.e. sitting or standing) humans, as it aims to establish which vibration amplitudes can be sensed and which are considered tolerable by moving people. Nimmy is conducting her research under the supervision of Prof Stana Zivanovic (a renowned academic in structural engineering) and Dr Genevieve Williams (a well established academic in biomechanics).

As well as the vibration factors, the study will investigate the additional influence of visual stimulus and psychological factors on the human experience of the vibrating structure.

VSimulators will be used to simulate vibro-visual effects from as-built structures and collect both subjective and objective parameters of human experience of the structure.

To validate findings from VSimulators, Nimmy will use the FRP Bridge, a lightweight and extremely lively (see the video below) glass fibre-reinforced-polymer structure. The FRP Bridge was relocated from the University of Warwick to the University of Exeter in 2019, and is a unique structure for researching performance under dynamic action (such as pedestrian excitation, vehicle loading, wind and train buffeting).

The University of Exeter are fortunate to have a diverse range of expertise, ranging from structural via human dynamics to psychology, as well as state-of-the-art experimental facilities, which make studies such as this possible.

This research will enable greater understanding of the experience of the person, as well as quantifying changes in the forces and movement patterns they create, in response to moving structures which will be fascinating from a motor control perspective.

If you are interested in undertaking similar investigations and would like to discuss a programme which involves using VSimulators, for either academic or commercial use, please contact the VSimulators team at vsimulators@exeter.ac.uk.

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