Influence of viscous dampers ultimate capacity on the seismic reliability of building structures

Fabrizio Scozzese, Laura Gioiella, Andrea Dall'Asta, Laura Ragni, Enrico Tubaldi

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Anti-seismic devices should be designed with proper safety margins against their failure, because the reliability of the structural system where they are installed is strongly influenced by their reliability. Seismic standards generally prescribe safety factors (reliability factors) amplifying the device responses at the design condition, in order to reach a target safety level. In the case of Fluid Viscous Dampers (FVDs), these factors are applied to the stroke and velocity, and their values are not homogeneous among seismic codes.
This paper investigates the influence of the values of the safety factors for FVDs on the reliability of the devices and of the structural systems equipped with them. An advanced FVD model is employed to account for the impact forces arising when the dampers reach the end-stroke and the brittle failure due to the attainment of the maximum force capacity. The effect of damper failure on both the fragility and the seismic risk of the structural system is investigated by performing multiple-stripe analysis and monitoring different global and local demand parameters. In particular, a parametric study has been carried out, considering two case studies consisting of a low-rise and a medium-rise steel building, coupled with a dissipative system with linear and nonlinear properties and studying the consequences of different values of safety factors for stroke and forces. The study results give evidence to the potential brittle behaviour of the coupled system and provide information about the relationships between damper safety factors and effective structural reliability. Some preliminary suggestions are given on possible improvements of current design approaches and on the values of the reliability factors to be considered for future code revision.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages30
JournalStructural Safety
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 16 Mar 2021


  • energy dissipation
  • failure
  • seismic risk and safety
  • reliability factors
  • multiple stripe analysis
  • nonlinear dynamic analysis


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