Numerical Modeling of Steel-Framed Floors for Energy Harvesting Applications

Conference paper
Part of the Conference Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Mechanics Series book series (CPSEMS)


Pedestrian movement on lightweight steel-framed floor systems can excite several vibration modes in the frequency range from 0 to 30 Hz. Although structural engineers are able to design floor systems that minimize annoying vibrations due to human activities, the frequency modes may be targeted for secondary applications such as low-demand energy harvesting. The techniques of modal analysis are useful in determining the parameters of these floor systems, with the goal of targeting resonant frequency modes for energy harvesting.

Advances in vibration analysis and energy harvesting technology combined with an increasing need for sustainable energy generation have inspired recent development of intermediate scale harvesters for floor vibration. These devices necessitate accurate numerical modeling strategies for coupled steel-framed floor and harvester device systems. An accurate numerical model of a coupled floor-harvester system can provide analysis resulting in optimized and efficient designs for harvesting ambient floor vibrations suitable for energizing low demand applications.

Numerical analysis of an existing experimental floor system is presented. The existing floor system was selected for analysis because its frequencies, damping ratios and mode shapes were previously obtained, allowing for focus on the numerical model. Optimization, limitations and extensions of the numerical model and a modeling protocol is discussed.


Energy harvesting Floor vibration Resonance Coupled systems Numerical analysis 



The prior research performed on the experimental floor system was supported in part by National Science Foundation Grant No. CMS-9900099. The authors wish to acknowledge the work completed by the principal investigator of that research initiative, Dr. Linda Hanagan.


  1. 1.
    Murray TM, Allen DE, Ungar EE (1997) Floor vibrations due to human activity, AISC steel design guide #11. American Institute of Steel Construction, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Miller LM, Halverson E, Dong T, Wright PK (2011) Modeling and experimental verification of low-frequency MEMS energy harvesting from ambient vibrations. J Micromech Microeng 21(1):13 pp (IOP Publishing)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Galchev T, Kim H, Najafi K (2001) Micro power generator for harvesting low-frequency and nonperiodic vibrations. IEEE J Micromech Syst 24(4):852–866Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Beeby SP, Torah RN, Tudor MJ, Glynne-Jones P, O’Donnell T, Saha CR, Roy S (2007) A micro electromagnetic generator for vibration energy harvesting. J Micromech Microeng 17(1):1257–1265CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Gu L (2011) Low-frequency piezoelectric energy harvesting prototype suitable for the MEMS implementation. Microelectron J 42(2):277–282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Raebel CH (2000) Development of an experimental protocol for floor vibration assessment. Master’s Thesis, The Pennsylvania State University, University ParkGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Raebel CH, Hanagan LM, Trethewey MW (2001) Development of an experimental protocol for floor vibration assessment. In: Proceedings of IMAC-XIX: a conference on structural dynamics. Society for experimental mechanics, Bethel, pp 1126–1132, 5–8 February 2001Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Beker L, Ozguven HN, Kulah H (2013) Optimization of an energy harvester coupled to a vibrating membrane. In: Proceedings of IMAC-XXXI: a conference on structural dynamics. Society for experimental mechanics, BethelGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Schultz JA, Raebel CH (2013) Harvesting of ambient floor vibration energy utilizing micro-electrical mechanical devices. In: Proceedings of IMAC-XXXI: a conference on structural dynamics. Society for experimental mechanics, Bethel, 11–14 February 2013Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Hanagan LM, Murray TM (1997) Active control approach for reducing floor vibrations. J Struct Eng ASCE 123(11):1497–1505CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Computers and Structures, Inc. SAP2000 advanced v14.2.4 (2010)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Society for Experimental Mechanics, Inc. 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, L.L.P.ChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering and Construction ManagementMilwaukee School of EngineeringMilwaukeeUSA

Personalised recommendations