Balancing Testing and Simulation for Design of a Research Facility

Vibration-sensitive equipment such as high-resolution imaging devices requires stable environments for optimal performance.  It is often desirable to locate this equipment on ground, either at grade level or in basement areas, away from any significant sources of vibration.  During planning, the site is surveyed to evaluate existing vibration conditions and to assess proposed equipment locations.  This assessment informs the development of the structural scheme.  If no significant changes to the site vibration environment are anticipated, the data from the site survey form the basis of design.  However, in situations where significant changes to the ground vibration environment are anticipated, additional, more complex studies are often required.

This paper presents a case study involving the design of a vibration-sensitive research facility.  Late in the development of the design the team was made aware of plans for a future light rail line directly adjacent to the building.  A detailed evaluation of future rail vibration impacts was conducted using a combination of testing and simulation techniques to predict future site vibration levels and establish feasibility of colocation of sensitive equipment.  The results from the assessment were used to finalize equipment selections, and to establish the final details of the structural design of the facility.

Author: Dr. Brad Pridham

Published: 02/02/2015

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