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Engineering Structures 126 (2016) 174–186

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Investigations of the application of gyro-mass dampers with various

types of supplemental dampers for vibration control of building
Reza Mirza Hessabi ⇑, Oya Mercan
Department of Civil Engineering, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: A gyro-mass damper (GMD) is an inertia-based passive control device. It has a gear assembly that ampli-
Received 23 October 2015 fies the rotational inertias developed in the gears and generates a resultant resisting force that is propor-
Revised 22 July 2016 tional to the relative acceleration at the end terminals of the GMD. The amplification provided by the gear
Accepted 23 July 2016
assembly can be adjusted by changing the gear masses or the gear ratios of the compound gears.
Although similar inertia-based devices have been successfully used for vibration mitigation of motor
vehicles and optical tables, there are only a few studies that investigated their application in building
structures. This number is even lower for the particular type of inertial damper that has been considered
Gyro-mass damper
Nonlinear viscous damper
in this study, i.e., GMD. Unlike other types of inertial dampers, the supplemental energy dissipation com-
Vibration control ponent of GMDs is not built-in to the device and can be independently attached as an external compo-
Seismic performance nent. This allows the design engineers to use this cost-effective device and select any available energy
Passive control device dissipation device to use in parallel. In this study, using a small-scale GMD, by considering the rotational
inertias of the intermediate gears, characteristic equation which describes the relationship between the
applied relative acceleration and the resulting resisting force is derived and experimentally verified. For
the introduction of GMDs into building structures, three different configurations are evaluated: (i) stand-
alone GMD, (ii) GMD-brace system, and (iii) GMD–Viscous damper–Brace (GVB) system. The structure-
GMD interaction, considering these three configurations, is investigated in frequency domain and in time
domain through energy balance equations and time history analyses. It is shown that by selecting the
system parameters properly, GVB systems with nonlinear viscous dampers can effectively improve the
seismic behaviour of the structure. This is discussed in more detail when the effects of the damper non-
linearities, as well as the various GMD equivalent mass, brace stiffness, damping values and selected
ground motions are investigated. The key findings related to the design, implementation and perfor-
mance considerations of these systems are provided.
Ó 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction gear assemblies. There is a long history of development, design,

modeling, analysis and application of various mechanical devices
The current direction of structural engineering research aims to that use gear assemblies. However, their first practical application
achieve sustainable and resilient design alternatives that must go as a passive control system was reported in early 2000s by Smith
beyond life safety. These alternatives include earthquake protec- [2], where the term ‘‘inerter” was used for them. They have since
tive systems with passive, active and hybrid (semi-active) control been used to suppress vibrations of optical tables [3] and cables
techniques. Passive control techniques are perhaps the most [4], used in Formula 1 racing car suspension systems, under the
widely employed as they require no external energy supply and name of ‘‘J dampers” [5], and subsequently in motorcycles, trains
are easier to set-up and maintain. This paper studies a recently- and regular cars [6–8]. In most of these studies, the dynamics of
developed mechanical device [1], namely a gyromass damper inerters was usually studied by using the electrical circuit analogy.
(GMD), which is an inertia-based passive control device that uses Although there has been considerable research focused on the use
of inerters in mechanical systems, their application in civil engi-
⇑ Corresponding author at: Department of Civil Engineering, University of neering and especially structural dynamics is limited.
Toronto, 35 St. George Street, Toronto, Ontario M5S1A4, Canada. In comparison to other types of inertia-based devices, GMD has
E-mail address: (R. Mirza Hessabi). a simpler design and can be relatively inexpensive. By increasing
0141-0296/Ó 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
R. Mirza Hessabi, O. Mercan / Engineering Structures 126 (2016) 174–186 175

the inertial terms of the system, GMDs increase the period of vibra- Section 2 summarizes the governing equations of motion for a
tion of the structure and which is similar to the effect of base iso- stand-alone GMD and then to verify the derived equations, a pro-
lation systems. However, unlike base isolation systems in which totype of this device is tested experimentally. In order to better
the excessive deformation of the isolation layer is problematic investigate the performance of GMDs, energy terms are provided
for the structural response, the gears in a GMD are fixed and they as quantitative measures. The main advantage of the energy for-
spin freely around their axes. It is also common in the literature to mulation is the replacement of vector quantities, such as displace-
draw a comparison between various types of inertial dampers and ments, velocities and accelerations by the corresponding scalar
TMDs and several previous studies have shown the similarities quantities. Despite their benefits, due to geometric limitations
between these two control systems [9]. TMDs installed on the roof and alignment issues, it would be very difficult, if not impossible,
of the structures provide an alternative passive control strategy to design a GMD that spans along the entire height of a story diag-
[10]. However, it should be noted that there are several major dif- onally to work based on relative floor accelerations. In Section 3,
ferences between these two control strategies. Similar to GMDs, the benefits and shortcomings of different configurations for the
TMDs modify the response of the system by changing the inertial introduction of GMDs into real structures are studied. The limita-
force component of the equation of motion. However, TMDs tions of a configuration in which the GMD is attached to the struc-
require a relatively large mass and thus a large space for their ture through V braces, and the dynamic properties of the resulting
installation. The equivalent mass of GMDs can be modified by system, considering also the flexibility introduced by the brace, are
changing the gear ratios and employing multiple compound gears. studied. As it is discussed in Section 3, an energy dissipation com-
Thus they can provide similar level of force while occupying a ponent (which does not have to be necessarily a linear viscous
much smaller space. Moreover, by design, TMDs are in resonance damper) can be added externally to the GMD-brace system. The
with the main structure, and they undergo large displacements effects of different parameters on the behaviour of this practical
which need to be accommodated. As mentioned before, the free configuration with a GMD–Viscous damper–Brace (GVB) are inves-
spinning of the gears of the GMDs does not impose any such tigated. The behaviour of a Single-Degree-of-Freedom (SDOF) sys-
problems. tem with the GVB control system is evaluated under different
In general, three types of inertial dampers have been proposed seismic loading scenarios and for various equivalent mass and stiff-
and tested experimentally, i.e. hydraulic, ball-screw and rack-and- ness values, and damping mechanisms. A numerical example is
pinion type of devices [11]. In 2011, Wang et al. [12] proposed a included in Section 4 that demonstrates the properties of the pro-
device in which forces were translated by hydraulic means. In posed configuration. Finally, the key findings of the paper are pro-
the second type, a ball-screw mechanism is used. This configura- vided in Section 5.
tion is very similar to the original inerter proposed by Smith [2]
and thus in comparison to the other two types, has been studied 2. Dynamic behaviour of GMDs
more extensively. In these devices, the rotary ball-screw converts
the axial movement into rotary movement thereby the axial veloc- 2.1. Stand-alone GMDs
ity is amplified and applied to a viscous material [13,14]. Ikago
et al. [15] called this type of inertia-based dampers as Tuned Vis- In many ways, gears in rotating systems act similarly to levers
cous Mass Dampers (TVMDs). They derived a closed-form opti- in translating systems. The GMD prototype used in this study is
mum design equation for the TVMD vibration control system to shown in Fig. 1. Fig. 1(a) shows a GMD element subjected to a time
minimize the peak amplitude of the resonance curve in undamped varying relative axial force f. It consists of two simple (gears 1 and
structures and verified their numerical simulation by conducting 6) and two compound (gears 2, 3, 4 and 5) gears. Free Body Dia-
shake table tests. More information about the development and grams (FBDs) of the gears are also shown in Fig. 2. The forces acting
verification of TVMDs can be found in other publications of these on each of these gears are determined by considering the equilib-
authors [16] including the real-life application of these devices in rium between the gears in contact. It should be pointed out that,
a steel building in Japan [17]. unlike the study of Saitoh [1], the rotational inertias of the inter-
In the third type, using a rack and assembly of gears, the relative mediate gears are also considered in the following derivation. By
translation of the terminals is transformed into rotation of the neglecting the mass of the rack and using the FBDs in Fig. 2, the
gears [1]. In this group of inertial dampers, the equivalent mass equations of motion for each of the gears can be written as Eqs.
of the device can be easily adjusted and unlike TVMDs, there is (1)–(4).
no viscous damper component inside these dampers. The lack of
the necessity of employing a viscous medium inside the damper J 1 €h1  f 1 r 1 þ f 12 r 1 ¼ 0 ð1Þ
leads to reduced maintenance requirements. In addition, the sim-
ple assembly of this type of inertial dampers makes them an effec-
tive alternative solution for the vibration control of building J 2 €h2  J 3 €h3 þ f 12 r 2  f 34 r3 ¼ 0 ð2Þ
structures in various parts of the world [18,19].
Unlike the other two types, the performance of the rack-and- J 4 €h4 þ J 5 €h5 þ f 56 r5  f 34 r 4 ¼ 0 ð3Þ
pinion inertial dampers has still not been well studied and thus
the current study investigated this type of inertial dampers in more J 6 €h6 þ f 56 r 6 ¼ 0 ð4Þ
detail. The device considered in the current study is similar to the
damper in the study of Saitoh [1] and hence the same terminology, where ri and Ji denote the radius and mass moment of inertia of the
i.e. ‘‘gyro-mass damper”, is used herein. Saitoh used a GMD to mit- ith gear, respectively. In the above equations of motion, an ideal
igate the lateral displacements of base isolators. In a similar appli- efficiency is assumed and the damping effects of gear friction or
cation, Wang et al. [20] studied the effects of the application of backlash are neglected. It can be shown that, the geometric rela-
these dampers to limit the horizontal and vertical displacements tionship between the arc lengths of the gears results in the follow-
of the building base. However, it should be emphasized that both ing relations between the angular rotations of each of the gears and
of these two studies are purely numerical and GMDs are only the first gear:
employed at the base level of the structure.
This study is arranged as follows: with the objective of illustrat- €h2 ¼ €h3 ¼ r 1 €h1 ð5Þ
ing the desirable dynamic properties of stand-alone GMDs, r2
176 R. Mirza Hessabi, O. Mercan / Engineering Structures 126 (2016) 174–186

Fig. 1. (a) Side-view, and (b) dimensions of the gears of the GMD considered in this study.

Fig. 2. FBD of the gears of the GMD considered in this study.

€h4 ¼ €h5 ¼ r 1 r 3 €h1 ð6Þ Parameter b in Eq. (10) is called the equivalent mass and for the
r2 r4 considered GMD configuration, it is equal to 12 ðmg1 þ mg2 þ
N 22 ðmg3 þ mg4 Þ þ N 22 N 23 ðmg5 þ mg6 ÞÞ. Thus, the force generated in a
€h6 ¼ r 1 r 3 r 5 €h1 ð7Þ
r2 r4 r6 GMD is proportional to the relative translational acceleration with
b as the proportionality constant. It can be shown that by using
After combining Eqs. (1)–(7), the following relationship can be two compound gears with the gear ratio of 5:1, a GMD similar to
€1 and the tangential force in the first gear
derived between h what is shown in Fig. 1 can generate an equivalent inertial force
"  2  2  2 # that is 1302 times larger than the inertial force generated by trans-
J1 J2 J3 r3 r3 r3 r5
f1 ¼ þ þ þ J 4 þ J 5 þ J 6 r 1 €h1 lation of an object with the same mass. Also, note that the equiva-
r 21 r 22 r 22 r2 r4 r2 r4 r2 r4 r6 lent mass is independent from the radii of the gears and can be
ð8Þ adjusted by changing the gear ratios and/or the gear masses.

The gear ratios of the compound gears 2 and 3 are defined as

N 2 ¼ r3 =r2 and N 3 ¼ r5 =r4 , respectively. It can be shown that the 2.2. Experimental validation and the effects of friction
number of teeth on a gear is proportional to the radius of its pitch
circle, which means that the ratios of the number of teeth of the In this section, experimental results for a small-scale prototype
corresponding gears can also be used for the gear ratios inter- are included to verify the derived equations from the previous
changeably. As shown in Fig. 1(a), the transitional displacement section. Fig. 3 shows the experimental setup. The experiments
of the rack (u) is related to the rotation of the first gear (u ¼ r 1 h1 ) were performed using a Quanser shaker II located at the Univer-
sity of Toronto. The shaker consists of a servo-motor driving a
and the tangential force in the first gear is equal to f . Thus, by
12.7 mm lead screw. The lead screw drives a circulating ball
replacing the mass moment of inertia Ji with their respective
nut, which is coupled to the 457  457 mm2 table. The table itself
expressions, the force-acceleration relationship in the GMD can
slides on low friction linear bearings on two ground hardened
be rearranged as Eq. (9),
shafts and has a 76.2 mm stroke. Under displacement control,
 h i the built-in controller is able to impose predefined (e.g., har-
f ¼ mg1 þ mg2 þ N22 ðmg3 þ mg4 Þ þ N22 N23 ðmg5 þ mg6 Þ u€ ð9Þ monic) displacements. The setup also has a 22.2 N (5 lb) load cell
between the shake table and the GMD that can measure the
where mgi shows the mass of the ith gear. Eq. (9) be summarized as forces.
The damper is fixed on the table and the rack of the damper is

f ¼bu ð10Þ placed on greased sliders to minimize friction and is connected to
R. Mirza Hessabi, O. Mercan / Engineering Structures 126 (2016) 174–186 177

Fig. 3. Experimental setup for the stand-alone GMD.

the load cell. An external LVDT is used to measure the horizontal

displacements of the rack and these measurements are checked
against the readings of the internal displacement encoders of the
shaker. Special attention was given to keep the horizontal align-
ment of the GMD. The proper alignment of the GMD in real-
building applications is also essential. More discussion on this is
provided in Section 3.2.
It has been shown before that the performance of inertial dam-
pers can be affected by nonlinearities [15,21]. As discussed by
Smith and Wang [6], the experimental data matches better with
the theoretical predictions when the effects of friction forces (f f )
are considered. In this study, to measure the friction (f f ), gears
are removed and a low-frequency sinusoidal input displacement
with the frequency of 0.1 Hz and amplitude of 10 mm is applied.
As it is shown in Fig. 4(a), f f is almost a square wave with the direc-
tion opposite to the sign of the velocity and the amplitude of about
ðf f Þmax ¼ 0:77 N. Eq. (11) can be used to consider the friction. Fig. 5. Measured force vs measured displacement for a GMD with b = 29.87 kg.

f f ¼ ðf f Þmax  signðuÞ ð11Þ In Fig. 5, measured forces are plotted against the applied dis-
placements. From Eq. (10), it is expected that the restoring GMD
In Fig. 4(b) measured forces for a GMD with an equivalent mass of forces be proportional to the applied accelerations. In this test,
b = 29.87 kg are compared with the theoretically predicted forces. since the applied displacements are sinusoidal, the force-
The applied sinusoidal displacement for all the cases in this section displacement relationship can be expressed as
had the amplitude of 15.24 mm (0.6 in) and frequency of 1.0 Hz. f ¼ ð2p  1Þ2 b  u or f ¼ 11:79u, which shows a negative slope.
Therefore, the maximum amplitude of the predicted force is equal The experimental results are compared to this line. It should be
to ð0:01524 mÞ  ð2p  1Þ2  b or 0:60b. A closer look at Fig. 4(b) noted that the enclosed area in this plot can mainly be attributed
shows that Eqs. (10) and (11) predict the values of the forces with to the presence of frictional forces.
an acceptable accuracy and the difference between the maximum Table 1 shows the comparison between the measured and pre-
measured and predicted forces is close to the value of ðf f Þmax . dicted forces under the imposed displacement time history. In this

Fig. 4. (a) Friction forces for the GMD, (b) measured and predicted forces of a GMD with b = 29.87 kg.
178 R. Mirza Hessabi, O. Mercan / Engineering Structures 126 (2016) 174–186

Table 1 increasing the fundamental period of vibration of the system. How-

Comparison between forces of the stand-alone GMDs with various values of ever, due to geometric limitations and alignment requirements, it
equivalent mass.
would be very difficult, if not impossible, to design a GMD that
Equivalent mass, b (kg) 17.37 20.49 23.62 29.87 spans along the height of a story diagonally to work based on the
Maximum predicted force (N) 11.20 13.06 14.94 18.69 relative floor accelerations. Instead other configurations, such as
Maximum measured force (N) 9.95 13.89 15.52 21.03 the V brace shown in Fig. 6 should be considered to attach them.
The braces serve as extenders and will transfer the displacement
table, mass of the last gear was changed to verify the accuracy of and acceleration of the main mass to the end terminal of the GMD.
the predicted GMD forces. The self-mass of the larger and smaller Starting with the equation of motion of this system in time
gears are 27.2 gr and 0.91 gr, respectively and the equivalent mass domain, Eq. (14), can be written to describe the GMD-brace
of the damper without any extra mass is 17.37 kg. When 2, 4 and 8 system.
extra masses (i.e., additional 10, 20 and 40 g, respectively) are           
M 0 €x C 0 x_ K þ kb kb x M
introduced to the last gear, the equivalent mass increases to þ þ ¼ €xg
20.49 kg, 23.62 kg and 29.87 kg, respectively. The value of the max- 0 b u€ 0 0 u_ kb kb u 0
imum predicted force of 0:6b plus the friction force (ðf f Þmax ) is ð14Þ
shown in the first row of Table 1 and can be compared with the
where x is defined in Eq. (12) and u is defined as the displacements
maximum measured forces for each damper.
of the node that connects the GMD to the braces. A closer look at Eq.
Depending on the type of material, size of the components,
(14) reveals that this equation is similar to the equation of motion
design of the connections, tightness of the fasteners, type of the
of a 2-degree-of-freedom system with an additional stiffness
lubricants, etc. the value of friction forces may vary from one dam-
per to another. Nevertheless, as it is shown in this section, the fric-
To study the dynamic behaviour of the system shown in Fig. 6,
tion force can constitute a large portion of the resisting force and
the transfer function T GMDbrace can be written in the frequency
whenever its value is available, it should be considered in the anal-
domain as:
yses. The friction force for each particular device should be mea-
sured separately and the proposed procedure in this section can XðjxÞ
T GMDbrace ðjxÞ ¼
be used to measure this force. X g ðjxÞ
"  1 #1
2.3. Dynamic effects of GMDs on SDOF systems 1 1
¼ M x Mx þ Cjx þ K þ
2 2
kb bx2
To obtain the equation of motion for the GMD-structure system,
the equation of motion of an SDOF system with a known mass M,
stiffness K and inherent damping C (and damping ratio of n) needs pffiffiffiffiffiffiffi
where j ¼ 1 and the lateral stiffness of the braces is shown by kb .
to be modified. As shown in Eq. (10), the force developed in a GMD
Note that since kb is the horizontal stiffness of the braces, brace
is proportional to the relative acceleration applied at the end
geometry should be taken into account when this parameter is cal-
nodes. The new equation of the motion for a system equipped with
culated. At his stage, two dimensionless parameters can be defined
a GMD is rewritten as Eq. (12).
to describe the system in Fig. 6. Equivalent mass ratio is defined as
ðM þ bÞ€x þ C x_ þ Kx ¼ M€xg ð12Þ l = b/M, and the ratio of the brace stiffness to that of the structure is
defined by b ¼ kb =K. Fig. 7 shows the magnitude of the transfer
By dividing both sides of Eq. (12) by M + b, it can be rewritten as,
function T GMDbrace for different frequencies.
€x þ ðC=½M þ bÞx_ þ ðK=½M þ bÞx ¼ ðM=½M þ bÞ€xg ð13Þ As it can be seen in this figure, the addition of the GMD-brace
system separates the resonant peak of the original SDOF system
As it can be seen in Eq. (13), after normalizing the differential
into two distinct frequencies. It can be seen that for each b value,
equation, the coefficients of the acceleration term on the left hand
the higher-frequency resonant peak of the controlled system is
side of the equation is equal to one. A closer look at this equation
consistently larger than the resonant peak of the original system.
reveals that the natural period of vibration of the SDOF system plus
pffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi As a result, in comparison to the performance of the original SDOF
the stand-alone GMD is equal to T n = ðM=½M þ bÞ. Thus, with the system, the response of the GMD-brace system is consistently
addition of the GMD the period of the system increases. worse. This is particularly critical when the governing frequency
Further comparison of the other dynamic parameters of Eq. (13) of the applied load coincides with the higher-frequency resonant
with the corresponding values of the original system also reveals peak of the GMD-brace system.
that the damping ratio of the SDOF system with the GMD is equal This is a significant observation for the real-life application of
to n  ðM=½M þ bÞ. This explains why when the GMD is intro- GMDs into building structures. In order to have a practical installa-
duced with b greater than 0, the damping ratio of the GMD- tion configuration for GMDs that does not suffer from the negative
structure system is always less than that of the original system. effects of the GMD-brace systems, in the next section, the use a
Finally, the effective force on the right side of equation of motion supplemental damping device in parallel with the GMD-brace sys-
of the original SDOF system is reduced by ðM=½M þ bÞ. Energy tem will be investigated.
measures will be discussed in the next section to show the effects
of each of these changes.

3. Investigation of different configurations for the application

of GMDs in real structures

3.1. GMD-brace configuration

As shown in the previous sections, stand-alone GMDs have the

potential of enhancing the seismic performance of structures by Fig. 6. Model of an SDOF structure with a GMD-brace system.
R. Mirza Hessabi, O. Mercan / Engineering Structures 126 (2016) 174–186 179

By using the relative displacements, the transfer function

approach can be employed directly to find the frequency response
of the SDOF system equipped with the GVB systems. This transfer
function, named as T, can be written in the frequency domain as:
TðjxÞ ¼  2
1  xxn þ 2 xxn j þ Gðl; b; c; x; xn Þ

lb x
Gðl; b; c; x; xn Þ ¼  2   ð17Þ
Fig. 7. Frequency response of the SDOF with a GMD-brace system.
l x
xn  b  2c xxn j

It should be noted that the frictional effects in the GMD are

neglected in Eq. (16). A new dimensionless parameter c is defined
3.2. GVB systems as the ratio of the viscous damper coefficient over the correspond-
ing value of the original structure or c ¼ cb =C. Note that when l = 0
To alleviate the shortcomings of the GMD-brace system, it is or b ¼ 0, Gðl; b; c; x; xn Þ becomes zero, the transfer function
necessary to control the higher-frequency resonant response of becomes that of the original SDOF system. Performance of an SDOF
the system. One way to achieve this goal is by introducing damping structure equipped with a GVB system is influenced by the selec-
devices such as linear or nonlinear viscous dampers. Using the sim- tion of the lateral brace stiffness, i.e. kb . A combination of the
ilarities between TMDs and GMDs, Lazar et al. [9] and Giaralis and parameters b, l; c and n results in a modified dynamic response
Taflanidis [22] proposed new models, called TID and TMDI, respec- of the system. Thus, a proper selection of a combination of these
tively. These studies ([9,22,23]) considered a viscous damper in variables needs to be made during the design of the control system.
parallel with the braces. For the same reasons that were explained In order to address this issue and select an optimum set of
for stand-alone GMDs (i.e., geometric limitations and alignment parameters, [15] used the fixed-point method and derived a
issues), this configuration would not be practical in real applica- closed-form solution for the design of a structure subjected to har-
tions. In another study, Ikago et al. [15], proposed a model in which monic excitation. Based on their study, first, the desired equivalent
the inertial component was arranged in series with the braces and mass ratio (l) should be specified.
in parallel with a viscous damper. However, the inertial component Then, using this parameter, b and c can be calculated from Eqs.
in their model is a TVMD (and not a GMD), where a rotary ball- (18) and (19):
screw mechanism was added to a regular linear viscous damper.
Fig. 8(a) shows a one bay-one story frame equipped with the kb l
b¼ ¼ ð18Þ
configuration that is used in the current study (which will be called K 1l
a GVB) and the corresponding mass-spring-dashpot oscillator is sffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi
provided in Fig. 8(b). This configuration has originally been pre- c l 3l
c¼ b¼  ð19Þ
sented by Saitoh [1], where he called it a Model II system and C 2 ð1  lÞð2  lÞ
investigated the effectiveness of this configuration for a different
qffiffiffi qffiffiffiffiffiffiffi
target structure. Despite the similarities between GVBs and From Eq. (18) it can be shown that xb ¼ xn b
¼ xn 1
l 1l
TVMDs, the main advantage of using GVBs is that the supplemental qffiffiffiffi
energy dissipation component is not built-in to the device and can where xb ¼ kbb :
be attached as an external component. This will allow the design Due to the similarities between TMDs and GMDs, same com-
engineers to select from a wide range of available energy dissipa- mon mass ratio values can be used for the equivalent mass ratio
tion devices to use in parallel with the GMD. In addition, it should (l) in GVB design. However, as it can be seen in Eqs. (18) and
be noted that in both of the studies by Ikago et al. and Lazar et al., (19), kb and cb are both functions of this parameter and thus it is
the damping of the primary structure was neglected which is not necessary to discuss the effects of l on the response of the system.
the case in Fig. 8. In Fig. 9, the frequency response of SDOF systems with and without

Fig. 8. (a) Model of an SDOF structure with a GVB system, (b) the SDOF oscillator with the GVB system.
180 R. Mirza Hessabi, O. Mercan / Engineering Structures 126 (2016) 174–186

GVB control systems are compared for different values of l. Two

main observations can be made by looking at Fig. 9. First, even
for small values of l, a significant reduction of the peak response
can be obtained. As it can be seen in this figure, although increasing
the values of l leads to lower vibration amplitudes, the rate of this
decrease reduces for the effective mass ratios larger than 5%. The
second observation is related to the effects of the assumption
about the damping of the primary structure. For the derivation of
b and c parameters (i.e., Eqs. (18) and (19)), it has been assumed
in [15] that the original structure is undamped. In other words,
by assuming a value of zero for n, the control system properties
are calculated so that the separated resonant peak values become
equal. However, Fig. 9 shows that this assumption is only valid
for smaller values of l and the obtained response for a damped pri- Fig. 10. Frequency response of the main mass for TID, TVMD and GVB with a
mary structure does not have the same resonant peak values for nonlinear viscous damper systems (l = 10% and n = 2%).
larger equivalent mass ratios.
To the best of the authors’ knowledge, all of the previous studies
on this subject (such as TVMDs) have considered a linear viscous
damper. In order to demonstrate that the real application of GMDs 3.3. Energy balance equations
is not limited to GVB systems with linear viscous dampers, a non-
linear viscous damper with a power factor of 2 is chosen here. When a structure is equipped with damping devices or with a
Since, these devices behave nonlinearly, Eq. (16) can no longer be seismic isolation system, its dynamic response is modified. A thor-
applied to them. Thus, numerical models in OpenSees were used ough understanding of this modified dynamic behaviour is neces-
and nonlinear time history analyses were carried out. The numer- sary to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the overall system.
ical simulation results showed that Eq. (18) can be successfully However, due to the inherent uncertainty associated with earth-
used to design the stiffness of the braces, however, the damping quake ground motions, this task becomes more challenging when
coefficient should be reduced. From the numerical simulations it seismic loading is considered.
was also found that Eq. (20) can be used to determine the damping One available approach to achieve this goal and study the per-
coefficient of the nonlinear viscous damper (cbn Þ: formance of damping devices is the use of energy balance equa-
tions. The main advantage of the energy formulation is the
replacement of vector quantities, such as displacements, velocities
cbn ¼ l  bkb  ð20Þ and accelerations by the corresponding scalar quantities. During an
earthquake, input energy caused by ground motion enters into the
A comparison between the frequency responses of the displace- structure and then gets converted into different energy forms in
ments of structures controlled with a TID system, a TVMD and a the system. As the structure vibrates, its structural elements
GVB configuration with a nonlinear viscous damper with a power deform and absorb strain energy. When it stops moving at the
factor of 2 is shown in Fig. 10. As it can be seen the responses end of a cycle of vibration, the kinetic energy gets transferred into
are comparable, however, the required damping coefficient of the strain energy. The vibration of the structure can therefore be visu-
nonlinear viscous damper is 10 times smaller than those of the alized as a constant transfer of kinetic energy into strain energy
other two systems. and vice-versa. These energy forms are eventually dissipated in
Time history analysis results of structures with and without the the forms of either damping energy or hysteretic energy (if pre-
GVB (with a nonlinear viscous damper) subjected to the NWH090 sent). The energy formulation is obtained by integrating the work
ground motion record (Northridge earthquake), can also be used to done by each system element over an increment of global struc-
confirm this result. The properties of this ground motion record are tural displacement [24].
provided in Table 2. The results are shown in Fig. 11. It is clear in Considering a general multi-degree-of-freedom (MDOF) system
this figure that the GVB system reduces the maximum displace- which is equipped with stand-alone GMDs and is excited at the
ment value effectively and the control system is particularly effi- base by a horizontal earthquake ground motion, the governing dif-
cient around the 8th second. In addition, the mean displacements ferential equations of motion can be written as shown in Eq. (21).
and accelerations of the primary structure are reduced after the ½Mf€xðtÞga þ ½CfxðtÞg
_ €
r þ ½KfxðtÞgr þ ½BfxðtÞgr ¼ 0 ð21Þ
introduction of the GVB system.
where ½M, ½C, ½K and ½B are mass, viscous damping, stiffness and
GMD equivalent mass matrices, respectively. Also, subscripts r
and a denote the absolute or relative fxg, fxg _ and f€xg which are
the vectors of global accelerations, velocities and displacements at
time t. Note that the absolute energy formulation is used here
because according to Uang and Bertero [25], the relative energy
approach does not consider the rigid body translation of the struc-
ture. The relationship between the absolute and relative displace-
ments, velocities, and accelerations are provided in Eqs. (22)–(24),
fxga ¼ fxgr þ fxg g ð22Þ

fxg _ r þ fx_ g g
_ a ¼ fxg ð23Þ

Fig. 9. Frequency response of the main mass for various values of l (n = 2%). f€xga ¼ f€xgr þ f€xg g ð24Þ
R. Mirza Hessabi, O. Mercan / Engineering Structures 126 (2016) 174–186 181

Table 2
List of the earthquake ground motions considered in this study.

Event NGA # Record component Near/far field Mag. Rjb (km) PGA (g) PGD (cm) Pulse-like
1 Loma Prieta 0799 SFO000 FF 6.93 58.60 0.236 3.96 No
2 0738 NAS180 FF 71.00 0.268 5.36 Yes
3 Imperial Valley 0169 H-DLT352 FF 6.53 22.00 0.351 19.61 No
4 Kobe 1107 KAK090 FF 6.90 22.50 0.345 9.60 No
5 Chi-Chi, Taiwan 1487 TCU047-N FF 7.62 35.00 0.413 22.24 –
6 TCU047-E FF 0.301 51.12
7 Kern County 0015 TAF021 FF 7.36 38.42 0.156 9.48 –
8 Landers 0838 BRS000 FF 7.28 34.90 0.132 20.10 Yes
9 N. Palm Springs 0532 CLJ000 FF 6.06 78.10 0.021 0.33 No
10 Northridge 1044 NWH090 NF 6.69 5.90 0.583 17.98 Yes
11 Loma Prieta 0779 LGP090 NF 6.93 3.90 0.587 24.55 Yes
12 Imperial Valley 0183 H-E08140 NF 6.53 3.90 0.602 32.21 Yes
13 H-E08230 NF 0.454 35.33
14 Chi-Chi, Taiwan 1231 CHY080-E NF 7.62 2.70 0.968 18.61 No
15 CHY080-N NF 0.902 34.00
16 Tabas, Iran 0143 TAB-TR NF 7.35 2.00 0.852 94.49 No
17 TAB-LN NF 0.836 37.71
18 Duzce, Turkey 1611 1058-E NF 7.14 0.20 0.111 9.40 No

Fig. 11. Response of original and controlled SDOF systems, (a) displacements, (b) accelerations (Northridge earthquake (NWH090 record)).

where f€xg g is the vector of the ground motion accelerations at time
SE ¼ fxgTr ½Kfdxgr ð29Þ
t. Integrating Eq. (21) gives:
fx€ga ½Mfdxga þ fxg
_ Tr ½Cfdxgr þ fxgTr ½Kfdxgr Z
f€xga ½Mfdxg g
Z IE ¼ ð30Þ
þ f€xgr ½Bfdxgr

By comparing the coefficients of the input acceleration terms on

the right hand sides of the equation of motion of an uncontrolled
¼ f€xga ½Mfdxg g
SDOF system and Eq. (12), it can be seen that the input acceleration
of the system with a GMD is ðm=½m þ bÞ times less than the corre-
Hence, the absolute energy balance for a linear system at time t
sponding input acceleration for the uncontrolled system. Note that
the ðm=½m þ bÞ ratio is always a positive value equal or smaller
KEðtÞ þ DEðtÞ þ SEðtÞ ¼ IEðtÞ ð26Þ than one. However, as it is shown in Eq. (30), the introduction of
the stand-alone GMDs in structures, only modifies the kinetic
where kinetic (KE), damping (DE), strain (SE) and input (IE) energies
energy and does not directly reduce the input energy of the system.
are defined as,
Z Z On the other hand, the introduction of the GMDs in GVB configura-
KE ¼ f€xga ½Mfdxga þ
f€xgr ½Bfdxgr
ð27Þ tion (with a linear or nonlinear viscous damper) reduces the input
energy of the system considerably. The effects of the addition of
Z the nonlinear viscous damper in the GVB configuration of Sec-
DE ¼ _ r ½Cfdxgr
ð28Þ tion 3.2 and the significant reduction of the input energy are also
shown in Fig. 12.
182 R. Mirza Hessabi, O. Mercan / Engineering Structures 126 (2016) 174–186

3.4. Effects of the applied earthquake ground motion

To examine the effects of the uncertainties of the applied

ground motion on the response of the SDOF-GVB systems, maxi-
mum displacement and maximum acceleration are used as the
performance criteria here. The spectra for each of these parameters
are generated by changing the natural period of vibration of the
original SDOF system and plotting the corresponding maximum
value of the parameters. Using this procedure, for a certain ground
motion, the performance criteria can be plotted as a function of the
elastic natural period of the original SDOF system (Fig. 13). The first
objective is to find the range of the structural period for which the
response is sensitive to the applied ground motion. Two ground
Fig. 12. Comparison of input energy time histories of SDOF systems with/without motion records are chosen for the analyses in this section: a far-
GMDs (l = 10%). field ground motion record (i.e., Loma Prieta earthquake -
SFO000 record) and a near-field ground motion record (i.e., North-
In order to better quantify the effectiveness of the device from ridge earthquake - NWH090 record). More details about both of
energy perspective (based on Eq. (26)), a new performance index these records can be found in Table 2. A closer look at Figs. 13
(a1 ) is defined here, where the maximum input energy of the con- and 14 reveals that for structures with a natural period of vibration
trolled structure is divided by the input energy of the original SDOF of greater than 1.5 s, the accelerations are relatively unaffected by
system: the addition of GVB control system. On the other hand, it can be
ðMaximum IEÞControlled SDOF system seen that these systems reduce the maximum acceleration of the
a1 ¼ ð31Þ system consistently when the natural period is less than 1.5 s.
ðMaximum IEÞOriginal SDOF system
Moreover, from these figures, it can be concluded that the GVB
A comparison between the peak values of the plots in Fig. 12 control system is effective in reducing the maximum displacement
shows that the introduction of the stand-alone GMD does not of the structure under these two ground motions.
change the input energy considerably but reduces the maximum To investigate the effects of different input earthquake ground
input energy for the system with a GVB system with a nonlinear motions, a set of 18 different historical ground motions were
viscous damper significantly. This effect is more considerable than selected from the PEER-NGA database [26], and time history anal-
the effects of employing a stand-alone viscous damper or using a yses were performed and the same procedure was repeated. The
GMD-brace system. Using Eq. (31), the corresponding value of a1 details of these ground motions are reported in Table 2. In this
for the latter control system is 0.17. This indicates that the input table, similar to the study of Taniguchi et al. [27], the selected
energy of the controlled system with a nonlinear viscous damper earthquakes are divided into two categories of near- and far-field
in a GVB configuration can be reduced by as high as 83%. ground motions, indicated as NF and FF, respectively. Each ground

Fig. 13. Acceleration and displacement spectra under Loma Prieta earthquake for SDOF systems with/without GMDs (l = 10%).

Fig. 14. Acceleration and displacement spectra under Northridge earthquake for SDOF systems with/without GMDs (l = 10%).
R. Mirza Hessabi, O. Mercan / Engineering Structures 126 (2016) 174–186 183

or near-field earthquakes. Similar to many other control systems,

the performance of the proposed GVB system depends on the prop-
erties of the applied ground motion.
In general, it can be concluded from Fig. 16 that the introduc-
tion of the GVB system consistently enhances the response of the
SDOF system by reducing the seismic input energy. This control
strategy is particularly beneficial when the period of vibration of
the structure resonates with the dominant frequency of the

4. Numerical examples

It is shown in Section 3.2 that GVB systems provide a practical

solution for incorporating GMD in real structures and Eqs. (18)–
(20) can be used to design the parameters of these systems. Since
Fig. 15. Performance index a1 for the controlled systems subjected to different the project size, availability of the required device and the quantity
ground motions listed in Table 2 (l = 0.10). of it affect the unit price of each of viscous dampers, a generalized
cost-benefit analysis to investigate the effects of the damper selec-
tion on the eventual cost saving may not be very accurate. Still, the
numerical examples presented in this section can be used to exam-
ine the effects of each design parameter and to qualitatively com-
pare the size and performance of each component for these GVB
systems with some other passive control techniques.
For this purpose, a benchmark portal frame which supports a
satellite transmission unit is chosen from [24] (Fig. 16). The main
mass of the frame is equal to 10 tons and each of the supporting
columns has an EI equal to 370 kN m2 (corresponding to a period
of vibration of 1.10 s). System identification tests on the frame
indicated an inherent damping ratio of 2% of critical.

Fig. 16. Portal frame supporting a satellite transmission unit [24].

4.1. Parametric analysis

To examine the sensitivity of the response of a GVB system to

motion record is applied to SDOF systems with different initial per- the variation of its design parameters, the performance of the SDOF
iod of vibrations equipped with a GVB system and the resulting system shown in Fig. 16 is investigated in this section. As it is
peak a1 value is recorded as the performance criterion. demonstrated in Fig. 9, the equivalent mass ratio (l) has the max-
In Fig. 15, a1 is shown for the sample system of Section 3 under imum effects on the behaviour of the system when the primary
the 18 selected earthquake ground motions. In this figure, the tri- structure is in resonance with the applied ground motion. It can
angles show the results for the far-field ground motions and the be concluded that with the increase of l, the peak accelerations
diamonds illustrate the results for the near-filed records. and displacements of the system reduce. However, the effects of
Based on the results in Fig. 15, no clear distinction can be b and c on the performance of the system are more complex. For
observed for the effectiveness of the control strategy for far-field a GVB system with a linear viscous damper, the fixed-point
method from [15] can be used and Eqs. (18) and (19) can be

Fig. 17. Effects of b and c on the maximum displacement of a GVB system with a linear viscous damper.
184 R. Mirza Hessabi, O. Mercan / Engineering Structures 126 (2016) 174–186

Fig. 18. Effects of b and c on the maximum acceleration of a GVB system with a linear viscous damper.

employed to determine the optimum b and c. In Figs. 17 and 18, a the structure was subjected to the El Centro ground motion. In this
fixed value of 0.10 is chosen for l and parameters b and c are chan- section, in order to investigate these effects on a GVB with a non-
ged. The normalized maximum displacements for a harmonic exci- linear viscous damper and also to increase the number of consid-
tation with an input frequency that is equal to the natural period of ered ground motions, El Centro ground motion record [15] is
the primary system are shown in Fig. 17(a). In this figure, the val- used. Under the El Centro earthquake ground motion, the maxi-
ues of b are plotted on the x axis, the values of c are on the y axis mum displacement of this system was determined to be
and the values of the ratio of the maximum displacement of the 127 mm. In this study, six different passive control strategies are
GVB system over the maximum displacement of the uncontrolled used to reduce this displacement by at least 25%. Details of these
system are on the z axis. When b and c are zero, this ratio becomes control systems for reducing the maximum displacement of the
one. The contours of the relations between these parameters are SDOF system by at least 25% are shown in Table 3. Design param-
shown in Fig. 17(b). Similar procedure is repeated for the normal- eters for SDOF systems with only a viscous damper, a brace or a
ized maximum accelerations and the results are shown in Fig. 18. GMD are found by solving the corresponding equations of motion.
From these figures, it can be concluded that the combination of The stiffness and viscous damping terms for the TMD with an
b and c can result in different system responses and it emphasizes actual mass of 0.28 ton are found by using the following equations.
the necessity for appropriate selection of a combination of these These design equations are obtained for random base acceleration
variables during the design procedure. It should be noted that loading where the optimization criterion is selected to be the min-
the solid circle markers in Figs. 17(b) and 18(b) show the optimum imum root mean square value of relative displacement of the pri-
values obtained from Eqs. (18) and (19) used in the design. As it mary structure. More details about these design equations can be
can be seen in these figures, the design values are located within found in [24].
the regions with the lowest contour values indicating highest   !
region of response reduction. k 1  l2
ktmd ¼  mtmd ð32Þ
The results for a GVB system with a nonlinear viscous damper m ð1 þ lÞ2
are also shown in Fig. 19(a–d). Once again, b is determined from
sffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi sffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi

Eq. (18). However, the damping coefficient value of the nonlinear
ktmd l 1  l4
viscous damper (cbn) is lower than the GVB system with the linear cbn ¼ 2 mtmd  ð33Þ
viscous damper and Eq. (20) is used to design this parameter. This
mtmd 4ð1 þ lÞ 1  l2
parameter is normalized by dividing it by the damping coefficient Finally, Eqs. (18) and (19) are used to design the GVB system
of the primary structure (i.e., cn = cbn/c). with a linear viscous damper and Eqs. (18) and (20) are used to
Moreover, since it is not feasible to optimize cbn for both dis- design the system with the nonlinear damper. The control systems
placement and acceleration simultaneously, Fig. 19(b) and (d) in Table 3 are designed for the same value of the target maximum
show that the design value of cbn from Eq. (20) leads to an optimal displacement, i.e., they all limit the maximum displacement of the
acceleration reduction and a satisfactory displacement reduction. system to less than 95 mm.
Among these, the SDOF system equipped with a stand-alone
4.2. Qualitative comparisson with other control techniques GMD has the smallest maximum acceleration value. However, as
was mentioned before, because of the geometric limitations and
In this section, the proposed design for GVB is compared to alignment issues, the introduction of a stand-alone GMD would
other commonly used passive control devices. In 2012, Ikago not be practical and the introduction of a GMD through braces con-
et al. [15] studied the influence of the properties of the ground tribute to inferior dynamic performance. Instead, the GVB systems
motion on the response reduction of the TVMDs. They concluded are used in Table 3 and they result in a satisfactory performance. It
that the effectiveness of these control systems degrades for long- should be emphasized here that the required damping coefficient
period ground motion containing fewer resonant components of the nonlinear viscous damper for the GVB system is about 7
and in particular they observed that TVMDs are less affected when times less than the system with only a viscous damper. This ratio
R. Mirza Hessabi, O. Mercan / Engineering Structures 126 (2016) 174–186 185

Fig. 19. Effects of b and c on the maximum displacements and accelerations of a GVB system with a nonlinear viscous damper.

Table 3
Details of the considered control techniques.

Control technique Design parameter Maximum displacement (mm) Maximum acceleration (g)
Original uncontrolled SDOF system – 127 0.63
Only a viscous damper c0 = 6.65 kN.s/m 95 0.50
Only a brace k0 = 290 kN/m 95 0.62
Only a TMD mt = 0.28 ton 95 0.52
ct = 0.26 kN.s/m
kt = 8.6 kN/m
Only a GM damper b0 = 2.70 ton 95 0.41
GVB system (with a linear viscous damper) b = 0.41 ton 95 0.57
cb = 0.60 kN.s/m
kb = 14.1 kN/m
GVB system (with a nonlinear viscous damper) b = 1.68 ton 95 0.53
cbn = 0.93 kN.s/m
kb = 66.3 kN/m

is 11 for the linear viscous damper. Thus, although in general as the representative of this type of inertial dampers in more
changing the velocity exponent in the nonlinear viscous damper details. The potential benefits of the application of GMDs in struc-
does not generally influence the price of the device considerably, tures as a passive control strategy are numerous. GMDs can elon-
the smaller damping coefficient in the nonlinear viscous damper gate the fundamental vibrational period of the structures and
leads to the selection of a damper with smaller maximum force potentially improve the seismic performance. In this paper a
limit which in turn reduces the cost of the project significantly. mechanical prototype was proposed and the governing equations
Similarly, the required stiffness of the brace in the GVB systems for that stand-alone GMD were derived and it was shown that
is about 20 times less than the corresponding value for the the resisting force in this device is proportional to the relative
brace-only control technique. Most importantly, unlike the TMD acceleration at its end terminals. The ratio between the force and
system, there is no need to place a real 0.28 ton mass on the struc- acceleration in these equations is called the equivalent mass. This
ture. Also, in comparison to the stand-alone GMD system, the parameter was shown to be independent of the radii of the individ-
application of the GVB system also requires a smaller equivalent ual gears and it can be adjusted by changing the gear ratios or the
mass value. In fact, using Eqs. (9) and (10), it can be shown that gear masses. The derived equations were verified through a series
with the available metallic gears in the market, two compound of experiments using a Quanser II shaker located at University of
gears with the gear ratios of 5:1, where the larger gears have a Toronto. It was shown that there was a good agreement between
pitch diameter of 6 in can provide the required 1.77 ton equivalent the experimental results and the theoretical equations. Although
mass. stand-alone GMDs have the potential to enhance the seismic per-
formance of structures, it was concluded that due to geometric
limitations and alignment issues they could not be introduced into
5. Conclusions
structures as stand-alone devices. Their installation through braces
was shown to be problematic as the GMD-brace-structure system
Unlike the other types of inertia-based devices, the performance
has a deteriorated dynamic performance. Therefore, the advan-
of the rack-and-pinion inertial dampers has still not been well
tages of using the configuration where the GMD is placed in series
studied. Thus the current study investigated gyro-mass dampers
186 R. Mirza Hessabi, O. Mercan / Engineering Structures 126 (2016) 174–186

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who provided the shake table for the experiments, and Ali Ashasi (ASCE); 2015. p. 2032–43. DOI: 10.1061/9780784479117.175.
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