Vibration testing of timber floor systems

L. A. Soltis, X. Wang, R. J. Ross, M. O. Hunt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Inspection and evaluation of existing timber structures have been limited to individual structural members. The objective of this study was to conduct a pilot investigation on the use of transverse vibration testing techniques for inspecting timber structures by evaluating component systems such as floor systems rather than individual members. The practical considerations were 1) the effectiveness of free vibration compared with forced vibration; 2) the optimal location of forcing function input and transducers for obtaining adequate response signals; 3) the effect of superimposed dead loads on floor vibration response; and 4) the effect of joist decay on floor vibration response. We evaluated three floors, two constructed with new joists and one with salvaged joists having some deterioration, checks, and splits. Natural frequencies and damping ratios were determined for each floor. We conclude that the practical considerations involved in the inspection of floor systems could be determined through frequency and damping ratio data. Thus, transverse vibration testing holds promise as an inspection technique. Future research is needed on a range of floor spans and joist sizes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-81
Number of pages7
JournalForest Products Journal
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2002


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