Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Architecture - Architectural Engineering




Graham Archer



Forced Vibration Testing and Analysis of Pre- and Post- Retrofit Buildings

Erica Dawn Jacobsen

The primary goal of the thesis was to detect the retrofit through vibration testing of both buildings. The secondary goal focused on correctly identifying the behavior of the building through FVT, comparing that behavior to computational model predictions, and determining the necessary level of detail to include in the computational modeling. Forced vibration testing (FVT) of two stiff-wall/flexible-diaphragm buildings yielded natural frequencies and mode shapes for the two buildings. The buildings were nearly identical with the exception that one had been retrofitted. Both buildings were comprised of concrete shearwalls and steel moment frames in the north/south direction and moment frames in the east/west direction. The retrofit strengthened the moment connections and added braces to the perimeter walls in the east/west direction.

The natural frequencies were found through FVT by setting a 30-lb shaker on the roof of both buildings and sweeping through a range of frequencies in both the east/west and north/south directions. Accelerometers were placed on the building to detect the accelerations. The peaks on the Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) graphs indicated the frequencies at which the structure resonated. Mode shapes were tested for by placing the shaker in a position ideal for exciting the mode and setting the shaker to the natural frequency detected from the FFT graphs. The accelerometers were placed around the roof of the building to record the mode shape.

After testing, computational models were created to determine if the models could accurately predict the frequencies and mode shapes of the buildings as well as the effect of the retrofit. A series of increasingly complex computational models, ranging from hand calculations to 3D models, were created to determine the level of detail necessary to predict the building behavior. Natural frequencies were the primary criteria used to determine whether the model accurately predicted the building behavior. The mid-diaphragm deflection and base shear from spectral analysis were the final criteria used to compare these select models.

It was determined that in order to properly capture the modal behavior of the building, the sawtooth framing, major beams, and the lateral-force-resisting-system (LFRS) must be modeled. Though the mode shape of the building is dominated by the flexible diaphragm, the LFRS is necessary to model to accurately predict both the natural frequency of the building as well as the diaphragm deflection.