MakeABridge is Subject of New Vibration Study at University of Waterloo

August 13, 2014

Professors and graduate students at the University of Waterloo’s Structures Laboratory in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada are utilizing the MakeABridge® modular pedestrian bridge structure to conduct a comprehensive testing and analysis of the effects of vibrations on key joints and on the bridge’s structural integrity. The weld-free modules enable the bridge to be tested at various overall lengths, measuring acceleration responses for each span. The MakeABridge specimen was provided to University of Waterloo researchers by the MAADI Group, Inc. engineering firm of Boucherville, Québec; the Study is co-sponsored by MAADI Group, the Aluminium Association of Canada (AAC) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) who helped fund the research.

Tests performed under crowd loading conditions of up to 30 people at one time will be used to validate finite-element models of aluminum pedestrian bridges and biomechanical models for simulating vibrations caused by pedestrian loading. Study results will assess vibration performance and stress behavior of aluminum pedestrian bridges and benefit footbridge designers worldwide who seek to improve their bridge designs and develop effective vibration dampening guidelines. Graduate students, Masters Candidate Ann Sychertz and Doctoral Candidate Pampa Dey are continuing to gather vibration data in this multi-year Research Study.

University of Waterloo Professors Scott Walbridge and Sriram Narasimhan chose the patented interlocking bridge modules to enable researchers to see how vibration effects change under loads as the footbridge span changes. MakeABridge’s span, deck weight, boundary conditions, and loading characteristics were varied to generate data under dynamic loading conditions. The Study will also address the issue of vibration serviceability caused by the relatively lighter weight of an aluminum bridge structure. Vibration issues are keys to designing footbridges that best withstand the strains caused by crowd loading and heavy pedestrian use.


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