Influence of Low-Frequency Vertical Vibration on Walking Locomotion

Walking locomotion has been a subject of studies in diverse research fields, such as computer, medical, and sport sciences, biomechanics, and robotics, resulting in improved understanding of underlying body motion and gait efficiency and pathology (when present). Only recently, a detailed understanding of kinematics and kinetics of the walking locomotion has become an important requirement in structural engineering applications due to an increasing sensitivity of modern, lightweight, low-frequency, and lightly damped footbridges to pedestrian-induced dynamic excitation. To facilitate development, calibration and verification of pedestrian models requires experimental characterization of walking gait parameters and understanding whether and how these parameters are influenced by the structural vibration. This study investigates whether low-frequency vibrations in the vertical direction affect seven walking locomotion parameters: pacing frequency, step length, step width, angle of attack, end-of-step angle, trunk angle, and amplitude of the first forcing harmonic. Three participants took part in a testing program consisting of walking on a treadmill placed on both stationary and vibrating supporting surfaces. The collected data suggest that an increasing level of vibration results in an increase in step-by-step variability for the majority of parameters. Furthermore, the existence of the self-excited force, previously observed only in numerical simulations of walking on pre-excited bridge decks, was confirmed. In addition, the deck vibration tended to have a beneficial effect of reducing the net force induced into the structure when walking at a pacing rate close to the vibration frequency. Finally, it was found that the vibration level perceptible by a pedestrian is one to two orders of magnitude larger than that typical of a standing person, and that the sensitivity to vibration decreases as the speed of walking increases.

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    • This work is made available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. 2016. © 2016 American Society of Civil Engineers.
  • Authors:
    • Dang, Hiep Vu
    • Živanović, Stana
  • Publication Date: 2016-12

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  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01611259
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, ASCE
  • Created Date: Jul 6 2016 3:02PM