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Video: Video: Overview and Demo of Tuned Mass Dampers

In many of the world’s tallest skyscrapers, there’s a secret device protecting the building and the people inside from strong motion due to wind and earthquakes. Did you know you can tune a skyscraper just like a guitar? In this Practical Engineering video, we’re comparing theory to the real world for tuned mass dampers. Luckily this tech is simple enough that we can model it right in the garage. As silly as this little experiment looks, it’s actually not that far off from what engineers do in the real world (maybe without the googly eyes). The design phase for just about every major building includes some physical scale model tests. This video shows that the tuned mass damper is a great example of elegance in engineering. Thanks for watching, and let me know what you think! Aluminum parts for the cart and damper are actobotics. The accelerometer I used is the ADXL345 breakout board from Sparkfun. I filtered the x-axis data with a low-pass filter, then sent it via serial port to my laptop. I just copy the data from the serial monitor window and import into Microsoft Excel for the figures. For the figure animations, I wrote a custom macro and used a screenshot program to capture them as video. Website: Music: Valesco - Cloud 9 (
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Overview and Demo of Tuned Mass Dampers