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How to strip out vibrations

MATERIALS Cutting Edge

THE TREND towards slimmer floor slabs and lighter structural mass in multistorey office blocks often has an unwelcome side effect. Composite steel and concrete floors can be susceptible to excessive vibration caused by the movement of people within the lightweight structure.

While the effects of the vibration are subtle, it can cause computer screens to flicker in offices and create a problem for building owners to rectify.

In an effort to combat excessive vibration, Skanska's structural flooring arm, Richard Lees Steel Decking, has teamed up with Arup, the engineer behind the wobbly bridge across the River Thames in London, to develop a simple composite floor damping system that counters vibration caused by human movement.

Developed over the past 12 months, the Resotec system is simply a strip of metal damping membrane that sits on top of the steel beam and is held in place by friction forces when the composite floor is placed above it. According to Richard Lees technical director Adrian Shepherd, the metal strip dissipates the vibration forces because it is not physically fixed to the frame or floor.

The precise make up of the strip is a closely guarded secret.

Mr Shepherd said: 'The strip can absorb the dynamic response from the floor because it is not fixed. It is held in place purely by the friction forces between the beam and the composite floor.'

The Resotec system can be retrofitted and will only be available through Richard Lees but may be offered to approved installers in the future, added Mr Shepherd.