Dr Sigong Zhang and Dr Stana Zivanovic have secured € 225k EU funding to use the VSimulator and Exeter Bridge facilities at Exeter Science Park in researching how people interact with lightweight structures.
Starting in October 2020, the two-year Marie Curie Fellowship project is entitled Developing advanced vibration performance assessment for new generation of lightweight pedestrian structures using motion platform and virtual reality environments (vPERFORM).
The project will investigate vibration and visual cues that lead to a pedestrian’s interaction with vibrating structures. vPERFORM will combine human motion science and mathematical modelling techniques with structural engineering application.
Sigong will be supervised by Stana from the Vibration Engineering Section and Dr Genevieve Williams, a lecturer in Sport and Health Sciences.
Stana said: “The emergence of lightweight, high-strength materials in construction has led to the development of exceptionally beautiful and slender structural forms, especially in the case of landmark public structures such as footbridges, walkways between buildings, at airports and in shopping malls.
“The project aims to improve understanding of the response of these structures to dynamic loading by pedestrians, and ultimately enable more efficient and sustainable design solutions.”
Genevieve added: “Capturing the essence of the inherently complex response of humans interacting with mechanical structures will increase our knowledge of human perception-action coupling in these contexts and inform structural engineering for lightweight bridge design.”
Sigong has studied and worked on human-induced vibration in China and Canada for more than 10 years, mainly focusing on lightweight steel and wood floor systems. He said: “I am excited about joining the Vibration Engineering Section at the University of Exeter. I will be studying the influence of vibration and visual stimuli on pedestrians walking in both virtual and real environments and using the brand new VSimulators and Exeter Bridge facilities.
“It is a magnificent opportunity to further my area of research, develop new skills and interact with leading scientists.”