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Unit information: Dynamics Laboratories in 2018/19

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Dynamics Laboratories
Unit code CENGM0047
Credit points 10
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Crewe
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Civil Engineering
Faculty Faculty of Engineering


This unit comprises three elements: 1) Background theory for experimental design, vibration monitoring methods, soil element testing, instrumentation and basic data processing, 2) Laboratory sessions in the geotechnics laboratories, 3) Laboratory sessions in the earthquake laboratory. The unit will enable student to understand the basic principles behind structural vibration and soil element testing and be able to setup experiments, collect, analyse and interpret the data.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course, the students will be able to:

ULO 1. be able to design simple experimental tests using appropriate scaling laws

ULO 2. understand the types of instrumentation, signal conditioning and acquisition systems available to researchers

ULO 3. be able to construct soil sample and manipulate various fabrication procedures

ULO 4. be able to set up a series of soil element testing apparatus, understand the involved physical variables and their reduction

ULO 5. be able to characterise soil behaviour over a wide range of strains from small to large strains.

ULO 6. be able to do basic data processing of vibration data collected from structures

ULO 7. understand and be able to apply methods for ambient and forced vibration testing of structures

ULO 8. be able to do hammer tests and analyse the data

ULO 9 understand the principles behind shaking table testing

UL0 10 understand the seismic qualification test process and have an awareness of a number testing specifications

Teaching details

Lectures covering the background material and two [three of the four] laboratory sessions as follows:

1) Measurement of mode shapes, natural frequencies and damping ratios of a model multi-storey building and comparison with an FE model using hammer or free vibration testing.

2) Testing of buildings on the shaking table to assessment of the performance of TMDs and base isolation as vibration control methods.

3) Set up of measurement system and instrumentation for typical soil physical variables

4) Set up of various soil element testing apparatus

5) Measurement of small strain and large strain soil parameters

The students will also be able to attend any ongoing experimental tests and qualification testing in the earthquake and soil mechanics laboratories

Student Input

12 hrs of lectures (6 x 2hr lectures)

18 hours of Laboratory sessions (6 x 3hr sessions)

70 hrs private study

Assessment Details

Laboratory report (50%) (UL01 1-8)

Examination (50% (ULO 1-8)

Please note that regular formative feedback will be provided through teaching activity such as simple exercises and optional activities.

Reading and References

Structural Modeling and Experimental Techniques, Second Edition. Harry G. Harris, Gajanan Sabnis. 1999. CRC Press. ISBN 9780849324697

Structural vibration and damage. R J Steffans. 1974. ISBN 0-11-670528-0

Structural Testing Part 1, Mechanical Mobility Measurements (br0458). Bruel & Kjaer. Available online at

Structural Testing Part 2, Modal Analysis and Simulation (br0507). Bruel & Kjaer. Available online at

Fratta, Dante, Jennifer Aguettant, and Lynne Roussel-Smith. Introduction to soil mechanics laboratory testing. CRC press, 2007.

Wood, David Muir. Soil behaviour and critical state soil mechanics. Cambridge university press, 1990.

Wood, David Muir. Geotechnical modelling. Vol. 1. CRC Press, 2003.