Date of Thesis

Spring 2012


Vibration serviceability is a widely recognized design criterion for assembly-type structures, such as stadiums, that are likely subjected to rhythmic human-induced excitation. Human-induced excitation of a structure occurs from the movement of the occupants such as walking, running, jumping, or dancing. Vibration serviceability is based on the level of comfort that people have with the vibrations of a structure. Current design guidance uses the natural frequency of the structure to assess vibration serviceability. However, a phenomenon known as human-structure interaction suggests that there is a dynamic interaction between the structure and passive occupants, altering the natural frequency of the system. Human-structure interaction is dependent on many factors, including the dynamic properties of the structure, posture of the occupants, and relative size of the crowd. It is unknown if the shift in natural frequency due to humanstructure interaction is significant enough to warrant consideration in the design process. This study explores the interface of both structural and crowd characteristics through experimental testing to determine if human-structure interaction should be considered because of its potential impact on serviceability assessment. An experimental test structure that represents the dynamic properties of a cantilevered stadium structure was designed and constructed. Experimental modal analysis was implemented to determine the dynamic properties of the empty test structure and when occupied with up to seven people arranged in different locations and postures. Comparisons of the dynamic properties were made between the empty and occupied testing configurations and analytical results from the use of a dynamic crowd model recommended from the Joint Working Group of Europe. Data trends lead to the development of a refined dynamic crowd model. This dynamic model can be used in conjunction with a finite element model of the test structure to estimate the dynamic influence due to human-structure interaction due to occupants standing with straight knees. In the future, the crowd model will be refined and can aid in assessing the dynamic properties of in-service stadium structures.


Human-Structure Interaction, Experimental Modal Analysis, Crowd Dynamics

Access Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Type

Master of Science in Civil Engineering


Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Kelly A. Salyards