Frequency control of smart base isolation system employing a novel adaptive magneto-rheological elastomer base isolator

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures, 2016, 27 (7), pp. 849 - 858
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© The Author(s) 2015. In the past decades, base isolation techniques have become increasingly popular for seismic protection of civil structures owing to its capability of decoupling buildings from harmful ground motion. However, it has been recognised recently that the traditional passive base isolation technique could encounter a serious problem during earthquakes due its incapability in adjusting the isolation frequency to cope with the unpredictability and diversity of earthquakes. To address this challenge, a great deal of research efforts have been conducted to improve traditional base isolation systems, most of which focused on hybrid supplementary devices (passive, active and semi-active types) for the isolators to control displacement or to dissipate seismic energy. On the other hand, the most effective approach to address the aforementioned challenge should lay on varying isolator stiffness in real-time to achieve real-time spontaneous decoupling. A recent advance of the development of an adaptive magneto-rheological elastomer base isolator has brought such idea to reality as the new magneto-rheological elastomer base isolator is capable to alter its stiffness significantly in real-time. In this article, an innovative smart base isolation system employing such magneto-rheological elastomer isolator is proposed and a novel frequency control algorithm is developed to shift the fundamental frequency of the structure away from the dominant frequency range of earthquakes. Such design enables the building to avoid resonant state in real-time according to the on-coming spectrum of the earthquakes. Extensive simulation has been conducted using a five-storey benchmark model with the isolation system, and testing results indicate that the proposed control system is able to significantly suppress both the floor accelerations and inter-storey drifts simultaneously under different earthquakes.
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