In This UC Laboratory, Shaking a Car Is All in a Day’s Work

The Structural Dynamics Research Laboratory at the University of Cincinnati answers questions about force, motion, and acoustics.

Photograph by Chris Von Holle

Chances are you’ve never heard of experimental modal analysis. But you don’t have to be a mechanical engineer to understand how cool it is to stand in a totally echoless room or witness a big machine shake a full-sized car—the kind of stuff that happens at UC’s Structural Dynamics Research Laboratory. Located in Rhodes Hall and also known as the Vibration Lab, the facility was originally established as part of a 1965 contract with the U.S. Air Force to help improve military machinery design. Researchers have since used the lab’s state-of-the-art equipment—ranging from a chamber that absorbs all reflecting sound waves to a four-axis road simulator—to answer questions about force, motion, and acoustics. Both an educational and industrial feat, the lab allows students to work alongside academic communities from across the globe and collaborate with scientists at NASA and General Motors. It’s a whole network of good vibes.

Click through our gallery to view more photos (by Chris Von Holle) of the research laboratory:

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