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NOTE: We recommend using at least a small amount of damping for modal and direct-
integration cases, even when dampers are present in the model.

Damping, a property of the material and the structure, influences dynamic response. A certain
type of damping is available for each type of load case. Within all load cases of a certain type,
damping is applied consistently, though additional damping may be added to individual load

 Modal damping is used for response-spectrum and modal time-history analyses. Material modal
damping, also known as composite modal damping, is weighted according to element and modal
stiffness. For each material, users specify a material modal damping ratio r, in which 0 < r < 1,
which relates to the damping ratio of each mode.

 Viscous proportional damping is used for direct-integration time-history analysis. This property
is proportional to mass and stiffness.

 Hysteretic proportional damping, also mass- and stiffness-proportional, is used for steady-
state and power-spectral-density analyses.

 Damping devices may also be modeled as a structural subsystem, as described in the Tuned-
mass damper tutorial.

Damping coefficients
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What values should I use for mass- and stiffness-
proportional damping?
Answer: Mass- and stiffness-proportional damping, normally referred to as Rayleigh damping, is
commonly used in nonlinear-dynamic analysis. Suitability for an incremental approach to
numerical solution merits its use. During formulation, the damping matrix is assumed to be
proportional to the mass and stiffness matrices as follows:

 η is the mass-proportional damping coefficient; and

 δ is the stiffness-proportional damping coefficient.

Relationships between the modal equations and orthogonality conditions allow this equation to be
rewritten as:


 ξ n is the critical-damping ratio; and

 ω n is the natural frequency ( ω n = 2 π f n ).

Here, it can be seen that the critical-damping ratio varies with natural frequency. The values
of η and δ are usually selected, according to engineering judgement, such that the critical-
damping ratio is given at two known frequencies. For example, 5% damping ( ξ = 0.05 ) at the
first natural frequency of the structure ( ω i = ω 1 ), and at ω j = 188.5 (30 Hz). According to the
equation above, the critical-damping ratio will be smaller between these two frequencies, and
larger outside.
If the damping ratios ( ξ i and ξ j ) associated with two specific frequencies ( ω i and ω j ), or
modes, are known, the two Rayleigh damping factors ( η and δ ) can be evaluated by the solution
of a pair of simultaneous equations, given mathematically by:

SAP2000 allows users to either specify coefficients η and δ directly, or in terms of the critical-
damping ratio either at two different frequencies, f(Hz), or at two different periods, T (sec).
When damping for both frequencies is set to an equal value, the conditions associated with the
proportionality factors simplify as follows:

 Wilson, E. L. (2004). Static and Dynamic Analysis of Structures (4th ed.). Berkeley, CA:
Computers and Structures, Inc. Available for purchase on the CSI Products > Books page
Damping in response-spectrum analysis
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Within the Response Spectrum Function Definition menu, shown in Figure 1, the function
damping ratio represents the damping ratio for which the response spectrum was generated.

Figure 1 - Response-spectrum function damping ratio

The modal damping ratio of the structure must also be specified in the response-spectrum
analysis case definition, which is shown in Figure 2:
Figure 2 - Response-spectrum modal damping ratio
During analysis, the response-spectrum curve will automatically adjust from the function damping
value to that of the actual damping present in the model. The velocity formula (Newmark and Hall,
1982) used for computation is as follows:


 A1 = acceleration corresponding to damping ratio D1

 A2 = acceleration corresponding to damping ratio D2

 0 < D1 < 100 (percentage)

 0 < D2 < 100 (percentage)

 log = natural log (base e)

For example, given an input acceleration (A1 = 0.4) at a particular period and function damping
ratio (D1 = 0.05), the acceleration (A2) which correlates with the modal damping ratio (D2 = 0.08)
would be computed as:
Here, D1 is the damping value (percentage) used to generate the response spectrum curve. In
the curve definition, this is denoted as the function damping ratio. D2 represents the modal
damping (percentage) of the structure, and is obtained through summation of damping sources
which include the following:

1. Modal damping specified in the analysis case

2. Composite modal damping from materials
3. Effective damping from link/support elements

If D1 is not equal to D2 (and D1 > 0), then the response-spectrum curve will be adjusted
according to the velocity formula (Newmark and Hall 1982). If the function damping ratio is are
used as-is.

 Newmark, N. M., Hall, W. J. (1982). Earthquake Spectra and Design, monograph. Berkeley,
California: Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI). Print.