Targeted energy transfers in vibro-impact oscillators for seismic mitigation

F. Nucera, A. F. Vakakis, D. M. McFarland, L. A. Bergman, G. Kerschen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the field of seismic protection of structures, it is crucial to be able to diminish 'as much as possible' and dissipate 'as fast as possible' the load induced by seismic (vibration-shock) energy imparted to a structure by an earthquake. In this context, the concept of passive nonlinear energy pumping appears to be natural for application to seismic mitigation. Hence, the overall problem discussed in this paper can be formulated as follows: Design a set of nonlinear energy sinks (NESs) that are locally attached to a main structure, with the purpose of passively absorbing a significant part of the applied seismic energy, locally confining it and then dissipating it in the smallest possible time. Alternatively, the overall goal will be to demonstrate that it is feasible to passively divert the applied seismic energy from the main structure (to be protected) to a set of preferential nonlinear substructures (the set of NESs), where this energy is locally dissipated at a time scale fast enough to be of practical use for seismic mitigation. It is the aim of this work to show that the concept of nonlinear energy pumping is feasible for seismic mitigation. We consider a two degree-of-freedom (DOF) primary linear system (the structure to be protected) and study seismic-induced vibration control through the use of Vibro-Impact NESs (VI NESs). Also, we account for the possibility of attaching to the primary structure additional alternative NES configurations possessing essential but smooth nonlinearities (e.g., with no discontinuities). We study the performance of the NESs through a set of evaluation criteria. The damped nonlinear transitions that occur during the operation of the VI NESs are then studied by superimposing wavelet spectra of the nonlinear responses to appropriately defined frequency - energy plots (FEPs) of branches of periodic orbits of underlying Conservative systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)651-677
Number of pages27
JournalNonlinear Dynamics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2007


  • Frequency-Energy Plot
  • Nonlinear Energy Pumping
  • Seismic Mitigation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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