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Tuned Mass Dampers and their application in structures


Skyscrapers are amazing wonders of the world! How are they able to withstand even the strongest of winds

and earthquakes?
Today, earthquake engineers rely on damping systems to

counteract nature's forces.

Tuned Mass Dampers

A Tuned mass damper consists of a mass mounted on a

structure via a spring system and a viscous damper, preferably in a location where the structures deflections are greatest in order to reduce the amplitude of vibrations.

application can prevent discomfort, damage, or outright structural failure.

Why Tuned Mass Dampers?

Tall buildings typically have damping levels of one to two

percent of critical (i.e., once started, oscillations will continue for many cycles). adding friction or viscous damping to the joints of the building.

Damping can be added to a structure to increase stability by

Since any single joint moves only slightly as a building sways,

this treatment must be applied to a large number of joints within the structure. is to install a tuned mass damper (TMD).

Another often more cost effective method of adding damping

Tuned Mass Dampers

When installed properly on a structure, they draw away

/absorb/suppress the vibrational energy from the structure and dissipate it internally, reducing the motion of the structure.

Principle of working
Typically, the dampers are huge concrete blocks or steel bodies

mounted in skyscrapers or other structures, and moved in opposition to the resonance frequency oscillations of the structure by means of springs, fluid or pendulums.
When the building begins to oscillate or sway, it sets the TMD

into motion by means of the spring and, when the building is forced right, the TMD simultaneously forces it to the left.
The TMD principle also applies to individual components prone

to vibration such as slender columns, truss members, and struts.

Principle of working
The spring and mass are tuned so as to have a natural frequency close

to that of the primary structure.

Ideally, the frequencies and amplitudes of the TMD and the structure should nearly match so that every time the building experiences lateral force, the TMD creates an equal and opposite push on the building, keeping its horizontal displacement at or near zero.

If their frequencies were significantly different, the TMD would create

pushes that would be out of sync with the pushes from the earthquake, and the building's motion would still be uncomfortable for the occupants and dangerous for the structure.

The effectiveness of a TMD is dependent on:

The mass ratio (of the TMD to the structure itself) The ratio of the frequency of the TMD to the frequency of the

structure (which is ideally equal to one)

The damping ratio of the TMD (how well the damping device

dissipates energy)

Ratio of masses:


The higher the mass of the TMD is, the better is the damping. Useful: from 0.02 (low effect) up to 0.1 (often constructive limit)
Ratio of frequencies: f 0.98 - 0.86

Damping Ratio of TMD:

0.08 - 0.20

It can be seen that with a 2% mass ratio, an effective viscous damping of over 3.5% can be added. This is enough to significantly reduce building motion.

Tuned mass dampers are mainly used in the following applications:

Tall and slender free-standing structures (Skyscrapers,

bridges, pylons of bridges, chimneys, TV towers) which tend to be excited dangerously by wind or earthquake,
Stairs, spectator stands, pedestrian bridges excited by

marching or jumping people. These vibrations are usually not dangerous for the structure itself, but may become very unpleasant for the people,
TMD may be already part of the structures original design

or may be designed and installed later.


Quick Facts

Holds the record as the worlds tallest building. Rises 501 meters (1,667 feet ) above the ground.

101 Floors

4,025,702 Total Square Feet

Total of 61 elevators in the building. Including two of the worlds fastest elevators with top speed of 1008 meters per second. Takes only 29 seconds to go from 1st floor to the 91st floor. observation decks, office space, resturants, retail shopping malls, fitness center, and home to Taipei Financial Corporation.

Buildings uses include: communications, conference center, library,

Construction began in 1999 and ended this year 2004. Total cost of the project was $700 million dollars.

TMD need in Taipei 101

Taiwan is located at the intersection of the Philippines Sea

Plate and the Euraisian Plate, which are part of the circumPacific volcano and seismic zone.
The research of the Central Geological Survey shows Taiwan

now has 51 active faults. The active faults in Taiwan can be classified as Type I Active Fault (AF1), Type II Active Fault (AF2) and Suspected Active Faults (AF3).
Taiwan experiences more than 200 perceivable earthquakes

every year.

TMD need in Taipei 101

Plate tectonics in and around the island of Taiwan:-

TMD in Taipei 101

Taipei 101 is designed to withstand the typhoon winds and earthquake

tremors common in its area of the Asia-Pacific. Planners aimed for a structure that could withstand the strongest earthquakes likely to occur in a 2,500 year cycle.

Engineers along with Evergreen Consulting Engineering designed a 660 tone steel pendulum that serves as a tuned mass damper, at a cost of NT$132 million (US$4 million).

It acts like a giant pendulum to counteract the building's movement,

reducing sway due to wind and earthquake by 30 to 50 %.

TMD in Taipei 101 :Details

Suspended from the 92nd to the 87th floor, the pendulum

sways to offset movements in the building caused by strong gusts and earthquake tremors.
Its sphere, the largest damper sphere in the world, consists

of 41 circular steel plates, each with a height of 125 mm (4.92 in) being welded together to form a 5.5 m (18 ft) diameter sphere.

TMD in Taipei 101 :Details

Eight steel cables form a sling to support the ball, while

eight viscous dampers act like shock absorbers when the sphere shifts.

Able to move 5 ft. in any direction, the Taipei TMD is the

world's largest and heaviest.

A bumper ring prevents the ball from swaying too far,

should that much swaying ever need to occur.

TMD in Taipei 101

The steel ring and lower set of 8 dampers, shown in on the

floor at elevation 374m, is a secondary system (named a snubber ring) designed to engage the TMD only at relative amplitudes which exceed 1m. to sway to help the building absorb the vibrations. Using dampers will make the vibrations last longer, therefore decreasing the amount of energy being released per vibration.

Once sensors on the building detect motion, the dampers begin

To improve occupants comfort in

strong wind conditions, particularly in hotel and office spaces, two mass dampers were installed on the ninetieth above ground floor (near the pinnacle).
The time domain simulations for

extreme design periods were performed by the structural engineers using DRAIN2D.

Some other famous structures that make use of TMD are:

Trump World Tower, New York The Wall center, Vancouver, British Columbia PETRONAS Towers, Malaysia

Bellagrio Bridges, Las Vegas, Nevada

Millennium bridge, London Centrepoint Tower in Sydney, Australia

One of the TMDs designed for the PETRONAS Towers

Dampers on the Millennium Bridge in London.

TMD attached to a Chimney

TMD attached to a pedestrian bridge