Dynamic Loading and Design of Structures

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Structures – Plants buildings heritage

And some — like live loads — present specific challenges that require a deeper understanding to conceptualize. Typically, they include people, furniture, vehicles, and almost everything else that can be moved throughout a building. We measure uniform live loads as pounds per square foot psf.

Resonance, Damping and Dynamic Amplification Factor

The acceptable live load will vary considerably based on the occupancy and expected use of a structure or structural element. For example, the live load for a room in a single family residence will be significantly smaller than the live load for an area of equal size at a movie theatre or sporting event. To account for the inconsistencies among live loads, the American Society of Civil Engineers ASCE , Standard 7 prescribes minimum live load requirements for buildings categorized by occupancy or use.


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As such, design load requirements will exceed the true live load that a structure will actually bear. To understand this, consider a typical single family residence. A dining room is often lightly furnished, and the majority of the live load imposed upon the structural elements will be attributable to people.

In order to reach the upper limit of 40psf live load that the ASCE prescribes, the dining room would have to hold 30 average-sized adult males at once. Assuming a more common family of 5 sitting down to eat dinner, the live load would fall somewhere between 5psf and 10psf, a mere fraction of the prescribed minimum.

There are other factors of safety built into the loads and the capacity of structures that provide additional reserve in case loads are exceeded. The last column shows the average as a percentage of the minimum code:.

Dynamic Loading by Individuals and Crowds on Grandstands

While actual observed live loads are often lower than the prescribed minimum code, it may be beneficial to plan for a greater load. Sometimes the prescribed minimum load is not large enough to account for the live load concentrated in a specific area. Take, for example, the parking garage of a residential building.


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  • Though the residential structure is prescribed a 40psf minimum live load, the parking garage must be capable of supporting a cargo truck weighing 3 tons. Volume 31 , Issue 5. The full text of this article hosted at iucr. If you do not receive an email within 10 minutes, your email address may not be registered, and you may need to create a new Wiley Online Library account.

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