Seismic Viscous Dampers A Cost-Effective Solution with Enhanced Performance for Retrofit and New Construction

The application of seismic protection devices such as dampers has fundamentally altered the landscape of earthquake engineering and design. Structures designed and built without such devices typically use a code-prescribed design that implies extensive structural damage, loss of operation, and likely replacement at design-level events. By contrast, seismic design incorporating earthquake protection devices leads to optimal design and combination of best engineering practice and minimal cost. These devices are robust, cost-effective, and have a proven exceptional performance record in past earthquakes. In most cases, initial cost of their utilization is at least in part neutralized by reduction in cost of other structural members. The long-term performance is the key parameter used for evaluation. A code-based design structure, likely would require major repair or replacement after a design level earthquake. In contrast, structures properly designed with these devices will likely only require minimum post-earthquake inspection and can be fully operational within hours of a seismic event. Such performance is not only cost effective; it also reduces the need for use of natural resources by eliminating post earthquake repair or reconstruction. Example design of code-based and high-performance design are presented illustrating the superior performance of buildings with seismic protective devices.

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