Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I would like to test my hardware under vibration that can appear on a highway gantry. If someone has a model of such vibration. i.e period and amplitude.

In my lab I have a motor that can be regulated according to its RPM.

share|cite|improve this question
You could move your hardware (assuming it'll fit in a van) to somewhere near a highway. Too obvious? – user346 Apr 5 '11 at 9:24
Do you have a set of accelerometers? You could go measure a highway gantry directly. – Colin K Jun 2 '12 at 1:24

I'm not sure that this completely answers your question but LIGO must deal with ground vibration due to highway traffic (and other sources). They have a paper with measurements at

A highway gantry will most likely receive most vibration from wind. It's not a building but the vibration patterns might be similar. Check out

share|cite|improve this answer

Vibration testing is often done using a couple methods:

  1. Random vibration according to a specified power spectral density envelope.
  2. Sinusoidal vibration ramps across a specified spectral envelope (simpler than the above, but takes longer due to ramp time, usually 1/2 an octave per minute)

Related, but usually separated is shock (e.g. drop) testing, which is done with the device packed (for shipping) and unpacked (installation mishaps). Each of the tests is applied to the device along the three axes while the device is powered and operating.

The idea is that because the tests cover all frequencies (in the specified range) along three orthogonal axes, so any vibration in practice will just be some combination of the test spectrum (in frequency and direction).

Devices are usually most sensitive to frequencies where there is some sort of resonance. In electronics (my field), a common problem is electrolytic capacitors that can be literally ripped off the board via shaking at their resonant frequency. The easy solution is to 'goop' them down with some RTV silicone, which doesn't really hold them in place as much as it damps the vibration so they don't get as excited.

share|cite|improve this answer

put it on a big board, supported at either end with brick say, and then get some people to stamp on the board in the middle while you test it. To make the vibration heavier, just add more people.

share|cite|improve this answer
actually, this is quite funny. – centralcharge Nov 2 '13 at 13:44

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.