The dynamic stiffening effects of non-structural partitions in building floors
Conference Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Mechanics Series
It is commonly known that full-height non-structural partitions of a fitted out floor structure affect its dynamic properties, with increase in floor mass and modal damping being commonly quoted in floor design guidelines. As a consequence, it is generally accepted that the non-structural elements usually reduce the response of floors to walking excitation. There is very little understanding of the effects of full-height partitions on the stiffness of building floors and this effect is generally not taken into account in floor design guidelines. This paper is therefore focused on establishing experimentally the effects of full-height non-structural partitions on dynamic stiffness of a full-scale real-life composite building floor. Modal testing data are presented for three construction phases of the floor: from a completely bare floor via partially to fully-fitted floor. The effects of the partitions are shown by comparing the measured frequency response functions (FRFs) at the same location for different construction phases and the estimated key modal properties of the floor corresponding to these phases. This kind of multi-phase measurements on a real-life floor structure during construction is very rare due to its logistical complexity and long-time required to gather data through all of the phases. It is shown that the partitions significantly affect measured FRFs by increasing damping, and in particular, floor stiffness. It is also shown that the mode shapes are changed by the partitions. The magnitude of the changes is quantified experimentally which is one of the first attempts to do this on a real-life floor structure using high-quality FRF measurements. © The Society for Experimental Mechanics, Inc. 2013.
pp. 513 - 519