Reliability-based optimal design of nonlinear viscous dampers for the seismic protection of structural systems

Domenico Altieri, Enrico Tubaldi, Marco de Angelis, Edoardo Patelli, Andrea Dall’Asta

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37 Citations (Scopus)
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Viscous dampers are widely employed for enhancing the seismic performance of structural systems, and their design is often carried out using simplified approaches to account for the uncertainty in the seismic input. This paper introduces a novel and rigorous approach that allows to explicitly consider the variability of the intensity and characteristics of the seismic input in designing the optimal viscous constant and velocity exponent of the dampers based on performance-based criteria. The optimal solution permits controlling the probability of structural failure, while minimizing the damper cost, related to the sum of the damper forces. The solution to the optimization problem is efficiently sought via the constrained optimization by linear approximation (COBYLA) method, while Subset simulation together with auxiliary response method are employed for the performance assessment at each iteration of the optimization process. A 3-storey steel moment-resisting building frame is considered to illustrate the application of the proposed design methodology and to evaluate and compare the performances that can be achieved with different damper nonlinearity levels. Comparisons are also made with the results obtained by applying simplifying approaches, often employed in design practice, as those aiming to minimize the sum of the viscous damping constant and/or considering a single hazard level for the performance assessment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)963-982
Number of pages20
JournalBulletin of Earthquake Engineering
Issue number2
Early online date16 Sep 2017
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2018


  • performance-based engineering
  • reliability-based design
  • stochastic seismic model
  • structural optimization
  • subset simulation
  • viscous dampers


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