Monumental Staircase Vibration Abatement Using a Tuned Mass Damper

tuned mass damper installed underneath the landing


Monumental, aesthetically pleasing staircases are getting incorporated more and more in the architectural design of institutional and commercial buildings. Monumental staircases frequently cause vibration serviceability issues. This is due to their complex shapes, and long spans, slenderness, and lack of columns. Such staircases vibrates when people climb up and/or down the stairs. Moreover, the transmission of that vibration to other parts of the building, can cause discomfort to the occupants.

DEICON measured the staircase’s fundamental frequency (6.1 Hz) and damping ratio (2%). Subsequently, DEICON designed and fabricated a 500 lb tuned mass damper targeting the first mode of vibration. The dimensions of the TMD were selected such that it could fit in the cavity underneath the landing, and be out of sight.

Subjective evaluations as well as comparison of the measured staircase vibration without and with the TMD pointed to the effectiveness of the tuned mass damper in dampening its target mode, increasing it from 2% to 10%, abating the vibration of the staircase.