After all, the Beach Boys sang about them. But, more often than not, vibrations have a negative impact on our world. Engineers have been fighting the effects of vibrations and oscillations for hundreds of years.
For example, take the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. The Arch has become iconic, recognized all over the world. For anyone who has been inside and gone to the top on a windy day, you’ve most certainly noticed that the Arch sways (or vibrates) back and forth very slowly. Engineers worked diligently to make the Arch as impervious to wind as possible by tightly controlling how it oscillates, essentially making sure that it vibrates so little that it won’t affect the stability of the structure itself. Although it can move back and forth a maximum of 18 inches, the Gateway Arch is so well designed that it’s never really approached this much movement. In fact, wind has to move at 50 miles an hour just to make it move 1.5 inches.