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Sec. 3.

Energy Dissipated in Viscous Damping


it moves. Such an instrument is unwieldy because of the heavy mass and soft spring, and
because it must accommodate the anticipated support displacement, which may be as large
as 36 in. during earthquakes.
To examine the basic concept further, consider harmonic support displacement
u g (t) = u go sin t


With the forcing function peff (t) = m u g (t) = m2 u go sin t, Eq. (1.7.4) governs the
relative displacement of the mass; this governing equation is the same as Eq. (3.2.1) for
applied harmonic force with po replaced by m2 u go . Making this substitution in
Eq. (3.2.10) and using Eqs. (3.1.9) and (3.2.20) gives
u(t) = Ra u go sin(t )


For excitation frequencies much higher than the natural frequency n , Ra is close to
unity (Fig. 3.2.7c) and is close to 180 , and Eq. (3.7.3) becomes
u(t) = u go sin t


This recorded displacement is the same as the support displacement [Eq. (3.7.2)] except
for the negative sign, which is usually inconsequential. Damping of the instrument is not
a critical parameter because it has little effect on the recorded motion if /n is very


Consider the steady-state motion of an SDF system due to p(t) = po sin t. The energy
dissipated by viscous damping in one cycle of harmonic vibration is

ED =

f D du =





u dt =

cu 2 dt

[u o cos(t )]2 dt = cu 2o = 2

n o


The energy dissipated is proportional to the square of the amplitude of motion. It

is not a constant value for any given amount of damping and amplitude since the energy
dissipated increases linearly with excitation frequency.
In steady-state vibration, the energy input to the system due to the applied force is
dissipated in viscous damping. The external force p(t) inputs energy to the system, which
for each cycle of vibration is

EI =
p(t) du =
p(t)u dt



[ po sin t][u o cos(t )] dt = po u o sin



Response to Harmonic and Periodic Excitations

Chap. 3

Utilizing Eq. (3.2.12) for phase angle, this equation can be rewritten as (see Derivation 3.6)

E I = 2 ku 2o
Equations (3.8.1) and (3.8.3) indicate that E I = E D .
What about the potential energy and kinetic energy? Over each cycle of harmonic
vibration the changes in potential energy (equal to the strain energy of the spring) and
kinetic energy are zero. This can be confirmed as follows:

f S du =
(ku)u dt
ES =



k[u o sin(t )][u o cos(t )] dt = 0

EK =

f I du =



(m u)
u dt


m[2 u o sin(t )][u o cos(t )] dt = 0

The preceding energy concepts help explain the growth of the displacement amplitude caused by harmonic force with = n until steady state is attained (Fig. 3.2.2). For
= n , = 90 and Eq. (3.8.2) gives
E I = po u o


The input energy varies linearly with the displacement amplitude (Fig. 3.8.1). In contrast,
the dissipated energy varies quadratically with the displacement amplitude (Eq. 3.8.1). As
shown in Fig. 3.8.1, before steady state is reached, the input energy per cycle exceeds
the energy dissipated during the cycle by damping, leading to a larger amplitude of displacement in the next cycle. With growing displacement amplitude, the dissipated energy
increases more rapidly than does the input energy. Eventually, the input and dissipated
energies will match at the steady-state displacement amplitude u o , which will be bounded
no matter how small the damping. This energy balance provides an alternative means of





Figure 3.8.1 Input energy E I and energy

dissipated E D in viscous damping.

Sec. 3.8

Energy Dissipated in Viscous Damping


finding u o due to harmonic force with = n ; equating Eqs. (3.8.1) and (3.8.4) gives
po u o = cn u 2o


Solving for u o leads to

uo =



This result agrees with Eq. (3.2.7), obtained by solving the equation of motion.
We will now present a graphical interpretation for the energy dissipated in viscous
damping. For this purpose we first derive an equation relating the damping force f D to the
displacement u:
= cu o cos(t )
f D = cu(t)

= c u 2o u 2o sin2 (t )

= c u 2o [u(t)]2
This can be rewritten as



cu o



which is the equation of the ellipse shown in Fig. 3.8.2a. Observe that the f D u curve
is not a single-valued function but a loop known as a hysteresis loop. The area enclosed
by the ellipse is (u o )(cu o ) = cu 2o , which is the same as Eq. (3.8.1). Thus the area
within the hysteresis loop gives the dissipated energy.
fD + fS
fS = ku

u > 0


Loading, u > 0


u < 0


Unloading, u < 0


Figure 3.8.2 Hysteresis loops for (a) viscous damper; (b) spring and viscous damper in parallel.


Response to Harmonic and Periodic Excitations

Chap. 3

It is of interest to examine the total (elastic plus damping) resisting force because
this is the force that is measured in an experiment:
f S + f D = ku(t) + cu(t)

= ku + c u 2o u 2


A plot of f S + f D against u is the ellipse of Fig. 3.8.2a rotated as shown in Fig. 3.8.2b
because of the ku term in Eq. (3.8.8). The energy dissipated by damping is still the area enclosed by the ellipse because the area enclosed by the single-valued elastic force, f S = ku,
is zero.
The hysteresis loop associated with viscous damping is the result of dynamic hysteresis since it is related to the dynamic nature of the loading. The loop area is proportional
to excitation frequency; this implies that the forcedeformation curve becomes a singlevalued curve (no hysteresis loop) if the cyclic load is applied slowly enough ( = 0). A
distinguishing characteristic of dynamic hysteresis is that the hysteresis loops tend to be
elliptical in shape rather than pointed, as in Fig. 1.3.1c, if they are associated with plastic
deformations. In the latter case, the hysteresis loops develop even under static cyclic loads;
this phenomenon is therefore known as static hysteresis because the forcedeformation
curve is insensitive to deformation rate.
In passing, we mention two measures of damping: specific damping capacity and
the specific damping factor. The specific damping capacity, E D /E So , is that fractional part
of the strain energy, E So = ku 2o /2, which is dissipated during each cycle of motion; both
E D and E So are shown in Fig. 3.8.3. The specific damping factor, also known as the loss
factor, is defined as

1 ED
2 E So


Resisting force

If the energy could be removed at a uniform rate during a cycle of simple harmonic motion
(such a mechanism is not realistic), could be interpreted as the energy loss per radian



Figure 3.8.3 Definition of energy loss

E D in a cycle of harmonic vibration and
maximum strain energy E So .

Sec. 3.9

Equivalent Viscous Damping


divided by the strain energy, E So . These two measures of damping are not often used in
structural vibration since they are most useful for very light damping (e.g., they are useful
in comparing the damping capacity of materials).
Derivation 3.6
Equation (3.8.2) gives the input energy per cycle where the phase angle, defined by Eq. (3.2.12),
can be expressed as

sin =

Rd =

po /k

Substituting this in Eq. (3.8.2) gives Eq. (3.8.3).


As introduced in Section 1.4, damping in actual structures is usually represented by equivalent viscous damping. It is the simplest form of damping to use since the governing
differential equation of motion is linear and hence amenable to analytical solution, as seen
in earlier sections of this chapter and in Chapter 2. The advantage of using a linear equation
of motion usually outweighs whatever compromises are necessary in the viscous damping
approximation. In this section we determine the damping coefficient for viscous damping
so that it is equivalent in some sense to the combined effect of all damping mechanisms
present in the actual structure; these were mentioned in Section 1.4.
The simplest definition of equivalent viscous damping is based on the measured response of a system to harmonic force at exciting frequency equal to the natural frequency
n of the system. The damping ratio eq is calculated from Eq. (3.4.1) using measured values of u o and (u st )o . This is the equivalent viscous damping since it accounts for all the
energy-dissipating mechanisms that existed in the experiments.
Another definition of equivalent viscous damping is that it is the amount of damping
that provides the same bandwidth in the frequency-response curve as obtained experimentally for an actual system. The damping ratio eq is calculated from Eq. (3.2.24) using the
excitation frequencies f a , f b , and f n (Fig. 3.4.1) obtained from an experimentally determined frequency-response curve.
The most common method for defining equivalent viscous damping is to equate the
energy dissipated in a vibration cycle of the actual structure and an equivalent viscous system. For an actual structure the force-displacement relation is obtained from an experiment
under cyclic loading with displacement amplitude u o ; such a relation of arbitrary shape is
shown schematically in Fig. 3.9.1. The energy dissipated in the actual structure is given
by the area E D enclosed by the hysteresis loop. Equating this to the energy dissipated in
viscous damping given by Eq. (3.8.1) leads to
4 eq

E So = E D


eq =

1 1 ED
4 /n E So


Response to Harmonic and Periodic Excitations

Chap. 3

Resisting force




Figure 3.9.1 Energy dissipated E D in a

cycle of harmonic vibration determined from

where the strain energy, E So = ku 2o /2, is calculated from the stiffness k determined by
The experiment leading to the forcedeformation curve of Fig. 3.9.1 and hence E D
should be conducted at = n , where the response of the system is most sensitive to
damping. Thus Eq. (3.9.1) specializes to
eq =

1 ED
4 E So


The damping ratio eq determined from a test at = n would not be correct at any other
exciting frequency, but it would be a satisfactory approximation (Section 3.10.2).
It is widely accepted that this procedure can be extended to model the damping in
systems with many degrees of freedom. An equivalent viscous damping ratio is assigned
to each natural vibration mode of the system (defined in Chapter 10) in such a way that the
energy dissipated in viscous damping matches the actual energy dissipated in the system
when the system vibrates in that mode at its natural frequency.
In this book the concept of equivalent viscous damping is restricted to systems vibrating at amplitudes within the linearly elastic limit of the overall structure. The energy
dissipated in inelastic deformations of the structure has also been modeled as equivalent
viscous damping in some research studies. This idealization is generally not satisfactory,
however, for the large inelastic deformations of structures expected during strong earthquakes. We shall account for these inelastic deformations and the associated energy dissipation by nonlinear forcedeformation relations, such as those shown in Fig. 1.3.4 (see
Chapters 5 and 7).
Example 3.6
A body moving through a fluid experiences a resisting force that is proportional to the square
of the speed, f D = a u 2 , where the positive sign applies to positive u and the negative sign
to negative u.
Determine the equivalent viscous damping coefficient ceq for such forces acting
on an oscillatory system undergoing harmonic motion of amplitude u o and frequency . Also
find its displacement amplitude at = n .

Sec. 3.10

Harmonic Vibration with Rate-Independent Damping


Solution If time is measured from the position of largest negative displacement, the harmonic motion is
u(t) = u o cos t
The energy dissipated in one cycle of motion is

ED =

f D u dt = 2



f D du =

(a u 2 )u dt = 2a3 u 3o

f D u dt

sin3 t dt = 83 a2 u 3o

Equating this to the energy dissipated in viscous damping [Eq. (3.8.1)] gives
8 2 3
a u o or ceq =
au o
Substituting = n in Eq. (a) and the ceq for c in Eq. (3.2.15) gives
ceq u 2o =

uo =

3 po
8a n2





3.10.1 Rate-Independent Damping
Experiments on structural metals indicate that the energy dissipated internally in cyclic
straining of the material is essentially independent of the cyclic frequency. Similarly,
forced vibration tests on structures indicate that the equivalent viscous damping ratio is
roughly the same for all natural modes and frequencies. Thus we refer to this type of
damping as rate-independent linear damping. Other terms used for this mechanism of internal damping are structural damping, solid damping, and hysteretic damping. We prefer
not to use these terms because the first two are not especially meaningful, and the third is
ambiguous because hysteresis is a characteristic of all materials or structural systems that
dissipate energy.
Rate-independent damping is associated with static hysteresis due to plastic strain,
localized plastic deformation, crystal plasticity, and plastic flow in a range of stresses
within the apparent elastic limit. On the microscopic scale the inhomogeneity of stress distribution within crystals and stress concentration at crystal boundary intersections
produce local stress high enough to cause local plastic strain even though the average
(macroscopic) stress may be well below the elastic limit. This damping mechanism does
not include the energy dissipation in macroscopic plastic deformations, which as mentioned earlier, is handled by a nonlinear relationship between force f S and deformation u.