The impact of footwear on ground reaction forces and gait characteristics of walking pedestrians.
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Vibration serviceability of lightweight and long-span structures is an area of research, which is attracting increasing attention in recent years. A common source of dynamic excitation in such structures is the interaction between the structure and its human occupants. Pedestrian loading is relatively small in magnitude compared to other forms of structural loading, but the dynamic nature of the force application complicates its understanding. Further complexity is added through the dearth of knowledge in relation to the interactive relationship between pedestrian loading and structural vibration, commonly referred to as human-structure interaction. This lack of understanding has contributed to several well-known cases of excessive structural vibration in bridges, stadium grandstands and even long-span floors in commercial buildings. Approaches to simulating interactive pedestrian loading are both deterministic and stochastic and encompass a range of simulation techniques from equivalent force methods to interactive elements such as spring-mass-damper systems and inverted pendulum models. At the core of all of these methods is the necessity to better model the forces applied by walking pedestrians and the parameters, which can influence these forces. This paper reports on the results of walking trials aimed at investigating the influence of footwear on the gait characteristics and associated ground reaction forces generated by people walking at several walking velocities. Participants were asked to walk on an instrumented walkway, at a range of pre-designated walking velocities and wearing different types of footwear. The influence of the footwear type on the gait characteristics such as walking velocity, pacing frequency, stride length and stride width are reported. Moreover, the influence of footwear on the ground reaction forces generated while walking are analysed.
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