Real Structures

Researchers carry out tests on real structures, like bridges and dams, to find out how they vibrate.

Their vibrations can be measured under naturally occurring forces, like the wind. Alternatively, the structures can be forced to vibrate using machines, or by hitting them with a special hammer.

Every structure has special properties that describe the way it vibrates, called its natural frequencies and mode shapes. These properties generally remain the same regardless of what is making the structure move, e.g. the wind or a vibrating machine.

Researchers can measure these properties from real structures when they are vibrating. They use these measurements to check that computer simulations of the structure behave in the same way as the real structure.

Find out about:

Setting up tests on Baitings Dam
from Bristol University