May 16, 2020

The world’s best airports

Doha Hamad Airport
Kansai International Airport
Catherine Sturman
4 min
The world’s best airports
The winners of theSkytrax 2016 World Airport Awards have been announced. We take a look at some of the best airports according to customers who have cla...

The winners of the Skytrax 2016 World Airport Awards have been announced. We take a look at some of the best airports according to customers who have claimed these to be the best in the world for customer satisfaction and experience and view them as forward thinkers within the industry.

1. Singapore Changi Airport

Opened in 1981, Singapore Changi Airport has become the biggest innovator within the airport industry. Winning first place for the third year running alongside gaining 480 awards, the airport incorporates a large shopping mall, rooftop swimming pool and Singapore’s largest indoor gardens. The airport provides an ideal space to relax and unwind before boarding, with many other attractions to enjoy.

With 55.4 million passengers passing through the airport in 2015 and over 6,800 flights every week, it is one of the world’s busiest airports that continues to develop and impress local citizens and tourists. It now developing its third runway to cater for increased demand.

2. Incheon International Airport, South Korea

Also one of the busiest airports in the world, Incheon International Aiport has also raised the bar by putting an increased focus on customer services.

Renowned for being one of the cleanest airports in the world, the airport has a museum, spa, ice skating rink, golf course, shopping mall amongst many other attractions to participate in whilst waiting to board, with a wide range of dining experiences.

The airport is also renowned to be one of the most efficient airports in the world, with first-class transport links to and from the airport.

3. Munich Airport, Germany

Situated within Bavaria, Munich Airport is the second busiest airport within Germany and is expanding Terminal 2 whilst developing transport links in order to cater for increased supply and demand.

With over 25 million passengers per year, a third runway is now set to be built.

4.Tokyo International Airport (Haneda)

Tokyo International Airport (Haneda)  has become one of the busiest airports in Asia, handling over 80 million passengers per year, with three terminals to cater for increased demand, alongside developing strong links to Hamatsucho station.

5. Hong Kong International Airport

Alongside its growing infrastructure, Hong Kong International Airport are putting an increased emphasis on sustainability by increasing air quality and energy saving within their current processes through improved designs.

Undergoing over 120 environmental initiatives, developing a carbon reduction strategy, alongside reducing the amount of noise emitted, the airport is also increasing their emphasis on recycling, becoming the forefront of increasingly green enterprises.

6. Chubu Centrair International Airport, Nagoya, Japan

Easily accessible by bus, ferry, car or rail, Chubu Centrair International Airport in Japan is ideal for both corporate travellers and tourists as a result of its strong transport links, with 10,424,663 visitors in 2015.

Visitors can see planes up close as they take to the skies through a sky deck based within the airport, or relax in a bathhouse built within the airport for travellers who wish to unwind prior to boarding their flight. There are aso a range of shops and eateries, in addition to Wifi hotspots throughout the airport.

7. Zurich Airport, Switzerland

Catering for corporate travellers, tourists and young families, Zurich Airport is the largest airport within Switzerland with over 26,281,228 passengers in 2015, incorporating a multitude of services, from health and beauty, dining, shopping and relaxing.

From 2017, the airport will be providing birthday parties for young children interested in aviation, seeing a plane take off from observation decks within the airport and a tour around the airport. The children will be looked after by professional childcare staff within the building.

There are also guided tours for adults, alongside flights which offer tourists a bird’s eye view of the country.

8. London Heathrow, United Kingdom

Heathrow Airport in London has become the busiest airport in Europe, with 74,985,748 passengers in 2015, with proposed plans to install a third runway in order to support growth within London and nearby suburbs, strengthening the UK’s economy.

The airport is currently focused on becoming increasingly sustainable, aiming to recycle 70 percent of waste by 2020 and reduce the level of noise emittance through their Responsible Heathrow 2020 Ambition.

9. Kansai International Airport, Japan

Similar to Chubu Centrair International Airport, Kansai International Airport  in Japan is accessible by bus, ferry, car or rail, with an array of shops and restaurants for travellers to enjoy.

Designed by Italian Architect Renzo Piano, the building currently has two terminals, with plans for a third to be constructed.  

10. Doha Hamad Airport, Qatar

With complete wireless access throughout the airport, Doha Hamad Airport in Qatar is at the forefront of technical innovation, providing internet kiosks and desks for citizens travelling through the airport.

With two runways and a third terminal reportedly scheduled to be built pior to the 2022 World Cup, the airport is set to go from strength to strength.

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Jun 17, 2021

Why engineers must always consider human-induced vibration

Dominic Ellis
3 min
Human-induced vibration can lead to a number of effects upon the structure and its users

Human induced vibration, or more accurately vibrations caused by human footfall, often conjures images of Millennium Bridge-style swaying or collapsing buildings.

But in reality, the ‘damage’ caused by human-induced vibrations is less likely to ruin a structure and more likely to cause discomfort in people. Though not as dramatic as a structural failure, any good engineer wants to make sure the people using their structures, be it bridges or buildings or anything in between, can do so safely and comfortably. This is why human-induced vibration must be considered within the design process.

Resonance v Impulse

There are two ways that human-induced vibrations affect structures: resonant, and impulse or transient response. Put simply, resonance occurs when Object A vibrates at the same natural frequency as Object B.

Object B resonates and begins to vibrate too. Think singing to break a wine glass! Although the person singing isn’t touching the glass, the vibrations of their voice are resonating with the glass’s natural frequency, causing this vibration to get stronger and stronger and eventually, break the glass. In the case of a structure, resonance occurs when the pedestrian’s feet land in time with the vibration.

On the other hand, impulse or transient vibration responses can be a problem on structures where its natural frequencies are too high for resonance to occur, such as where the structure is light or stiff. Here the discomfort is caused by the initial “bounce” of the structure caused by the footstep and is a concern on light or stiff structures.

Engineers must, of course, design to reduce the vibration effects caused by either impulse or resonance.

Potential impacts from human induced vibration

Human induced vibration can lead to a number of effects upon the structure and its users. These include:

  • Interfering with sensitive equipment Depending on the building’s purpose, what it houses can be affected by the vibrations of people using the building. Universities and laboratories, for example, may have sensitive equipment whose accuracy and performance could be damaged by vibrations. Even in ordinary offices the footfall vibration can wobble computer screens, upsetting the workers.
  • Swaying bridges One of the most famous examples of human-induced resonance impacting a structure occurred with the Millennium Bridge. As people walked across the bridge, the footsteps caused the bridge to sway, and everybody had to walk in time with the sway because it was difficult not to. Thankfully, this feedback can only occur with horizontal vibrations so building floors are safe from it, but footbridges need careful checking to prevent it.
  • Human discomfort According to research, vibrations in buildings and structures can cause depression and even motion sickness in inhabitants. Tall buildings sway in the wind and footsteps can be felt, even subconsciously by the occupants. It has been argued that modern efficient designs featuring thinner floor slabs and wider spacing in column design mean that these new builds are not as effective at dampening vibrations as older buildings are.
  • Jeopardising structural integrity The build-up of constant vibrations on a structure can, eventually, lead to structural integrity being compromised. A worse-case scenario would be the complete collapse of the structure and is the reason some bridges insist that marching troops break step before crossing. Crowds jumping in time to music or in response to a goal in a stadium are also dynamic loads that might damage an under-designed structure.

How to avoid it

As mentioned, modern designs that favour thinner slabs and wider column spacing are particularly susceptible to all forms of vibration, human-induced or otherwise, but short spans can also suffer due to their low mass. Using sophisticated structural engineering software is an effective method for engineers to test for and mitigate footfall and other vibrations at the design stage.

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