A novel adaptive base isolator utilising magnetorheological elastomer

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Conference Proceeding
From Materials to Structures: Advancement Through Innovation - Proceedings of the 22nd Australasian Conference on the Mechanics of Structures and Materials, ACMSM 2012, 2013, pp. 763 - 767
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Base isolation is the most popular seismic protection technique for civil structures. However, research has revealed that the traditional base isolation system is vulnerable to two kinds of earthquakes, i.e. the near-fault and far-fault earthquakes, due to its passive nature.A great deal of effort has been dedicated to improve the performance of traditional base isolation systems for these two types of earthquakes. Controllable supplementary and energy-dissipation members, such as magnetorheological damper, friction damper or hydraulic fluid damper, have been proposed to reduce seismic responses of the building structures. However, with the introduction of additional control devices, the system complexity increases resulting difficulty in the system implementation and control system design. It would be ideal if a certain level of adaptability could be introduced into base isolation systems while maintaining the traditional outfit. This paper addresses the challenge facing the current base isolation practices and proposes a novel adaptive base isolator as a solution to the problem.A smart rubber, namely, magnetorheological elastomer (MRE), is utilised in this research for its magnetic field-sensitive material property as the main element in the novel device. The tradition base isolator design for a large-scale structure with laminated steel and MRE layers is adopted. To verify and characterise the performance of the MRE base isolator, experimental testing was conducted on UTS shake table facility. Experimental results show that after being energised with magnetic field, the maximum force and the stiffness of the novel device can increase by up to approximately 45% and 37%, respectively.With the field-dependent stiffness and damping, the proposed adaptive base isolator is very promising in meeting the challenges associated with the base isolation systems encountered in practice. © 2013 Taylor & Francis Group.
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