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Footbridge Testing at Empa

A research team consisting of members of Vibration Engineering Section (Sheffield University), Structural Engineering Research Laboratory (Empa, Switzerland) and the Civil Research Group (Warwick University) jointly tested an FRP footbridge situated in an Empa laboratory. The testing was conducted over the week 29 June - 3 July 2009.

FRP Footbridge

The footbridge is a 19.2m long and 1.6m wide cable stayed structure. This ultralight bridge is made of FRP material and has mass of around 1,500kg. It is prone to perceptible vibrations in the vertical direction due to human walking/bouncing/jumping and is therefore suitable for studying human-structure dynamic interaction.


Numerous tests were conducted to quantify both the dynamic properties of the structure and its response to various human activities. To investigate the human-structure interaction, the Coda motion capture system was utilised. This system tracks movement of LED markers attached to both the human body and the structure. This allows for studying synchronisation between human and structural movement and tracking changes in human-induced forces.

The team of researchers from the UK would like to thank Dr Glauco Feltrin of Empa for hosting this one week long experimental exercise, and are looking forward to sharing the research findings.

Single person walking test
Single person walking test.

Testing team
Testing team in front of the Empa lab.