"Smart" base isolation strategies employing magnetorheological dampers

H. Yoshioka, J. C. Ramallo, B. F. Spencer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One of the most successful means of protecting structures against severe seismic events is base isolation. However, optimal design of base isolation systems depends on the magnitude of the design level earthquake that is considered. The features of an isolation system designed for an El Centro-type earthquake typically will not be optimal for a Northridge-type earthquake and vice versa. To be effective during a wide range of seismic events, an isolation system must be adaptable. To demonstrate the efficacy of recently proposed "smart" base isolation paradigms, this paper presents the results of an experimental study of a particular adaptable, or smart, base isolation system that employs magnetorheological (MR) dampers. The experimental structure, constructed and tested at the Structural Dynamics and Control/Earthquake Engineering Laboratory at the Univ. of Notre Dame, is a base-isolated two-degree-of-freedom building model subjected to simulated ground motion. A sponge-type MR damper is installed between the base and the ground to provide controllable damping for the system. The effectiveness of the proposed smart base isolation system is demonstrated for both far-field and near-field earthquake excitations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)540-551
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Engineering Mechanics
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Base isolation
  • Damping
  • Earthquake excitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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