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Damped Link Element in Coupled Truss or Wall System

By Ahmad Rahimian, Ph.D., P.E., S.E.

upplemental damping devices have


become increasingly widespread in
seismic and wind control applications
in building design. Damping elements
have proven to be an effective method
of absorbing an appreciable portion
of seismic energy transmitted through
a building to reduce sway. Similarly, in
wind design, dampers are most effective
in reducing the wind induced lateral floor
acceleration. Conventionally, supplemental damping devices are connected
to adjacent floors within a structure in
order to utilize the differential story displacement or velocity, depending on the
type of damper.
This article presents a unique approach in the placement of dampers
within a building such that their placement would enhance their performance
by maximizing their energy absorption
performance, thus reducing the stress
and strain on the structure. The proposed approach, which is called the
Damped Link System, creates a coupling effect between the structure and
the damper in such a way as to engage

the damper in both the buildings vertical and horizontal


differential displacements.

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discussion and updates on structural materials

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There are three basic


approaches to introduce
supplementing damping
into buildings:
Base Isolation the primarily goal is frequency
shift. Thishsolution
does not
t
ig the superstructure
r
eliminate
y
op which may still be
Cresponse,
excessive. However, some
amount of energy can be
absorbed through enhanced
damping of the base isolator
units and/or additional supplemental energy absorption Figure 1: Conventional damping arrangement & third
devices at the foundation. mode shape.
This is primarily useful for
seismic applications in low-rise buildings for activation, are suitable for wind as
well as seismic applications. Metallic
on relatively stiff soils.
Tuned Mass Damper widely used in hysteresis and friction dampers, having
wind acceleration. It is a free-to-move a distinct threshold for engagement, are
mass (with limited movement) primarily used for seismic applications.
connected via dampers to the Since viscous dampers are velocity destructure designed to respond pendent, their response is out-of-phase
out-of-phase to the primary with displacements and, as a result, their
tuned modes of vibrations induced forces are not compounded on
usually the first modes in each the structures stiffness related forces,
orthogonal direction. Such thus minimizing the overall effect on the
behavior is similar to damping. member stresses. Earthquake Engineering
Direct Application requires Research Institute Monograph (Hanson
placement of energy absorption and Soong) provides a comprehensive
devices within the structure at reference for seismic design with energy
various levels. Depending on the absorption devices.
Extensive studies have been done during
type of energy absorption device,
it may be suitable for both wind the past two decades to determine the
and seismic applications. It also optimal placement of supplemental
responds efficiently to higher damping devices. However, the major
focus of these studies was on obtaining
modes of vibrations.
The energy absorption devices, suitable algorithms for sizing, placement
or so called dampers, are avail- and distribution of dampers along the
able in a variety of forms such height of the structure in buildings with
as fluid viscous dampers, visco- essentially shear deformation behavior
elastic, metallic hysteresis, and where axial deformations did not influence
friction dampers. Fluid viscous the effectiveness of the dampers, such
dampers are velocity dependent as the case where dampers were placed
with practically zero stiffness. within low rise buildings or within gravity
Viscoelastic, metallic hyster- framing bays of high rise buildings.
The other equally important aspect
esis, and friction dampers are
displacement dependent and of optimal design is the creation
exhibit stiffness. Viscous and of a structural condition where the
viscoelastic dampers, show- performance of the dampers can be
Figure 2: Damped Link System & third mode shape.
ing practically no threshold intrinsically enhanced. This is the subject

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Building Blocks

Background

November 2007

of this article. Several novel approaches to the


optimal application of dampers have been
introduced. These are the DREAMY Systems
by Taisei, the Toggle Brace Damper by Taylor
Devices, and the Viscoelastic Damper acting
as outriggers, by Ahn, et al.
The key to an optimal utilization of dampers
is based on locating the dampers in relatively
high differential displacement zones within
a building for a given external excitation.
One of the well known signatures of tall
building behavior is the axial deformation
of the vertical elements participating in
resisting lateral loads. Depending on where
dampers are placed within a structure, the
axial deformation of the vertical elements
can have a negative (reducing) effect, no
effect, or a positive (enhancing) effect on the
performance of the dampers. For instance,
axial deformation can have a negative
(reducing) effect on the damper performance
if it is placed within a moment frame or
within a truss in a tall building.

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Figure 4: Damped Link System deformation.

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Damped Link System


The Damped Link System is a patented
system that maximizes the performance of
the damper without increasing the damper
capacities. This is accomplished by placing
the dampers between uncoupled trusses, walls
or in combination with columns, as shown

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Figure 3: Damped Link Element acting as coupling element between independent trusses,
Torre Mayor, Mexico City.

conceptually in Figure 2. Also shown is the


deformation of the structure and the dampers
under a higher mode of vibration. The system
has been implemented in the design of the
Torre Mayor, currently the tallest building
in Mexico City. Figure 3 shows the damper
placement in Torre Mayor.
The concept takes advantage of the vertical
differential motion at adjacent columns, in
addition to the horizontal differential interstory motion. Figure 4 shows the typical panel
deformation for the Damped Link System.
The fundamental concept lies within the
notion of how to tap into the stored potential
energy of a structure. This is achieved by
attempting to maximize the relative velocity
of the end nodes of a damper for a given interstory velocity and sway. This is a function of
the structural system and the position of the
damper within the structure.

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STORY 20
STORY 19
STORY 18

In conventional applications, dampers are


usually placed between two building columns,
with each end connected to adjacent levels. The
orientation can take any of the configurations,
which have been the subject of extensive
research and literature. In this scenario,
dampers are exposed to the component of
differential inter-story horizontal motion in
line with the damper axis. Figure 1 shows
a typical configuration of conventionally
placed dampers within a building. Dampers
are placed within a gravity framing bay
where columns are not subjected to axial
deformations induced by lateral forces. The
lateral force resisting system of the building
is represented by two vertical trusses.
Figure 1 also shows the deformation of the
structure and the dampers under a higher
mode of vibration.

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STORY 17
STORY 16
STORY 15
STORY 14
STORY 13
STORY 12
STORY 11
STORY 10
STORY 9
STORY 8

Example

STORY 7

The following study of a 40-story structure


compares the results of conventionally placed
damper system with that of the Damped
Link System. All structural parameters are
identical except for the method of placing the
damper. Figure 5 shows the elevation of the
typical braced frame used for the lateral force
resisting system. The studies were performed
using SAP2000 analysis software in one of
the principal directions only. Also, the effect
of the variation in number of dampers along
the height of the structure was studied. A
building with a 120- x 120-foot floor plan

STORY 6

STRUCTURE magazine

31 November 2007

STORY 5
STORY 4
STORY 3
STORY 2
STORY 1
STORY 0

Figure 5: Structural model.

every level, 10 dampers placed at every other


level, 5 dampers, 3 dampers and 2 dampers
equally spaced along the height of the
structure, and finally one damper at the top
level, as shown in Figure 6 for Damped Link
System and similarly for the conventionally
damped system. In all the studies, the total

damper coefficient, SC, was kept constant


and the individual damper coefficients were
adjusted proportionally to the number of
utilized dampers.

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Conventional Damper System

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20 Damper

10 Damper

5 Damper

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3 Damper

2 Damper

Figure 6: Alternate systems with varying number of dampers.

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1 Damper

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Free Vibration
Conventional Damped System

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Displacement, inch

with three spans of 40 feet column grids in


both directions was considered for this study.
Inter-story height was 26 feet and the overall
height was 520 feet.
A series of time-history analyses was
performed using the 1995 Hyogo-Ken-Nanbu
(Kobe) Earthquake and a simple impulse
loading. The efficiencies of the two damping
arrangement methods were compared by
measuring the structural responses. The
effective damping values were also evaluated.
For this study, the total amount of the
damper coefficient, SC, was kept constant,
with a value equal to 1000 k-sec/inch. The
dampers were considered to be linear in
relation to the velocity, although in reality,
this relationship is usually designed to
be non-linear. (This nonlinear velocity
relationship would have an exponent in the
range of 0.1 to 1. The lower exponent value
would increase the energy absorption capacity
and limit the maximum damper force, thus
adding to the overall reliability of the system.)
However, this consideration did not influence
the comparative nature of this exercise.
The structures mass, stiffness, undamped
frequencies and mode shapes were all identical
in all different scenarios. The variables were
the method of placement of the dampers
(Conventional vs. Damped Link System) and
the number of dampers along the height of the
structure. The lateral force resisting system was
considered to be a Concentric Braced Frame
system for both alternatives.
For each scheme, a total of six studies
were performed to cover a range of damper
distributions along the height of the structure.
The following damper distributions were
considered: 20 dampers uniformly placed at

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In the conventional damper arrangement, the


dampers were placed between two gravity columns and connected to the floors at different
levels, as shown in Figure 1 (page 30). In this
case, the dampers were only exposed to the
horizontal differential velocity between floors
since the columns were not engaged to resist the
overturning seismic forces. Figure 7a shows the
buildings lateral motion under free vibration at
the top floor.

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-2 0

10

15

20

25

-4
-6
-8

Time, second
Conventional Damped System

Figure 7a: Free vibration Conventional Damper System.

Free Vibration
Damped Link System
Displacement, inch

-3

10

15

-8

Time, second
Damped Link System
Figure 7b: Free vibration Damped Link System.

STRUCTURE magazine

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November 2007

20

25

Damped Linked Element


between Truss Systems

DAMPING RATIO VS. NUMBER OF DAMPERS

Discussion & Conclusion


In these studies, it was assumed that the
inherent structural damping was negligible
compared to the added damping. Therefore,
all the exhibited damping was associated with
the dampers performance.
Figure 8 shows the effective damping for
the two systems. The chart also shows the
overall effective damping as a function of

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Some of our smaller competitors


would have you believe that their
cold-formed steel trusses require
less bracing than the Aegis
Ultra-Span system. The problem
is its simply NOT TRUE.

0.100
DAMPING RATIO

In this method, the dampers were placed


between two effectively uncoupled vertical
truss elements (Figure 2, page 30), where, in
addition to the horizontal differential velocity
between consecutive floors, they were also
exposed to vertical differential displacements
as a result of axial deformations of the adjacent
columns. Thus, under a given base excitation,
the dampers placed in this configuration were
exposed to higher velocities as compared to
the conventional application of dampers.
As a result, the overall contribution and
effectiveness of the damping were higher.
Figure 7b shows the buildings lateral motion
under free vibration at the top floor. It is
noticeable that the free vibration decays
much quicker than the conventionally placed
damper as shown in Figure 7a.

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0.080
0.060

0.040
0.020
0.000
0

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NUMBER OF DAMPERS

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Damped Link System

the number of utilized dampers. The total


damper coefficient, SC, was kept constant
throughout this study. The results clearly show
the advantage of the Damped Link System
over the conventional damper arrangement.
The Damped Link System shows up to
400% higher damping (9.5% damping) in
comparison to the conventional damper
arrangement (2.5%) with the identical
number of dampers.
The results also show that the rate of
improvement of the damper performance
converges quickly after placement of the

dampers at a minimum of three separate


zones along the height of the structure. This
can be attributed to two factors: the effect of
the higher modes of vibrations and the effect
of the joint stiffness at the connection to the
damper relative to the damper capacity. This,
in effect, means for identical conditions for a
given total damper constant, using fewer large
capacity dampers yields a lower performance
than using more low capacity dampers.
In response to the 1995 Hyogo-Ken-Nanbu
Earthquake excitation, Figure 9 shows the
roof levels maximum displacement and

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Conventional Damped System

Figure 8:CEffective
op overall damping as a function of damper distribution.

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33 November 2007

DRIFT INDEX - DAMPED LINK SYSTEM VS.


CONVENTIONAL PLACEMENT

MAX SWAY, INCH

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25
20

20
15
10

- 0.015

- 0.01

- 0.005

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5% Damping

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10% Damping

Conventional
Damped System

10 12 14 16 18 20 22

# OF DAMPERS
Figure 9: Maximum lateral deflection.

BASE SHEAR RATIO VS. # OF DAMPERS


0.40

BASE SHEAR RATIO, g

0.35

Damped Link
System

0.30

5% Damping

0.25

10% Damping
0.20

Conventional
Damped System

0.15
0.10
0.05
0.00
0

10 12 14 16 18 20 22

# OF DAMPERS
Figure 10: Maximum base shear.

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1- Hanson, R.D., Soong, T.T., Seismic


Design with Supplemental Energy
Dissipation Devices, EERI, Monograph,
MNO-8, 2001
2- Constantinou, M.C., Tsopelas, P.,
Hammel, W., Testing and Modeling of
an Improved Damper Configuration
for Stiff Structural System, Technical
Report Submitted to the Center for
Industrial Effectiveness and Taylor
Devices, Inc., 1997
3- Ahn, S-K., Min, K-W, Park, J-H, Lee,
S-H, Lee, D-G, Oh, J-K, Kim, K-s, Lee,
S-K., Practical Issues and Solutions on
Installation of Viscoelastic Dampers in a
46- Story Reinforced Concrete Building
structure, The Structural Design of Tall
Building and Special Buildings, John
Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2007
4- Rahimian, A., Martinez Romero,
E., Chapultepec Tower, Proceedings
National Steel Construction Conference,
AISC, 1998
5- Rahimian, A., Martinez Romero, E.,
Super Structure, Civil Engineering, vol.
73, 2003
6- Rahimian, A., Coupled Truss Wall in
Damped Link Element, Proceedings
the Second International conference
in advancement of Steel Structures,
ICASS, Hong Kong, 1999.

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References:

Damped Link
System

The example above demonstrates the


effectiveness and superiority of the Damped
Link System in creating an optimal solution
for damper utilization in comparison with
a conventional damper arrangement. The
example above shows the effective damping

of the structure can be increased multifold


without increasing the damper capacity
but by simply placing them strategically
within the lateral force resisting system.
This concept is more effective in high-rise
buildings than low-rise buildings since axial
deformations of the lateral force resisting
system have a higher importance.

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0.005

0.01

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15

Conventional Damped
System

Figure 11: Maximum Drift Index

MAX SWAY VS. # OF DAMPERS


40

Summary

Damped Link System

0.015

Figure 10 shows the base shear as a function


of the structures mass. The charts show that
the Damped Link System exhibits 25%
less deformation and 30% less base shear
imposed on the structure as compared to the
conventionally placed damper system. The
5% and 10% modal damping responses are
also shown as a reference which shows the
consistency of the results with the damping
evaluation on Figure 10.
Figure 11 shows the maximum drift index for
both the conventional damping arrangement
and the Damped Link System for the uniform
arrangement of dampers. The graph shows a
40% reduction in the maximum interstory
drift index by using the Damped Link System
instead of using the conventionally placed
dampers with the identical damper sizes.

November 2007

Dr. Ahmad Rahimian, P.E., S.E., is


president of WSP Cantor Seinuk, Structural
Engineers, New York division of WSP
Group. Dr. Rahimian, an internationally
recognized expert in tall buildings, is
the recipient of numerous awards from
engineering societies for various exemplary
projects that he has engineered. Dr
Rahimian holds a US patent for seismic
protective design. He also serves as an
Adjunct Associate Professor at The Cooper
Union, School of Architecture.