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Submitted by: Miaaza Hussain

Rollno: 10/CE/61



 Introduction( Problem Statement)

 Seismic base Isolation

 Types of seismic isolators

 Literature review

 Numerical background

 Case study

 Conclusion

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Over the past few decades, earth quake resistant design of building has become a major topic
of interest among structural engineers. Major earthquakes (e.g. Northridge, 1994; Kobe, 1995; chi-
chi 1999 etc.) have caused destruction to many structures and also have cost the world many lives.
Hence different techniques have been proposed to release the earthquake forces subjected to a

Fig: The Kaiser Permanente Building after the Northridge Earthquake of January 17, 1994

Different techniques currently used to minimise the earthquake effect on structures are:

▫ Shear wall

▫ Braced frame

▫ Moment resisting frames

▫ Increasing ductility via extra reinforcement

▫ Use of Damping devices

A high proportion of the world is subjected to earthquakes and therefore structural engineers are
bound to a higher level of responsibility towards the public for survival against the effects of these

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earthquakes. As per all the designs we encounter, most of them

are based on the concept that the capacity of the building should
be greater than the demand. As far as earthquakes are concerned,
they are unpredictable and demands for a high structural strength
or capacity. Hence it is necessary to make sure the capacity
exceeds the demand. But this is not an ideal situation.
Earthquakes cause inertial forces proportional to the product of
building mass and the earthquake ground accelerations. As the
ground acceleration increases, the strength of the building must
be increased to avoid structural damage. In high seismic zones,
ground acceleration may exceed the acceleration due to gravity Fig: inertial force due
to ground motion
causing huge amount of force on the structure. Though this is the
case it is not practical to increase the building strength indefinitely.
Designing for such high seismic loads are not easy or practical, nor cheap. Hence most codes
follow ductility to achieve capacity. Ductility is the concept of allowing the structural elements to
deform beyond their elastic limit in a controlled manner. Beyond elastic limit, the structural
elements soften and the displacements increase with only a small increase in force. The deformation
which occurs beyond the elastic limit is non-reversible when the load is removed. These
deformations may cause dramatic structural damage, especially to parts made of materials like
concrete which will show cracking and spalling when the elastic limit is exceeded.

Fig: Ductility concept of design

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For most structural materials, ductility equals structural damage, in that the effect of both is the
same in terms of the definition of damage as that which impairs the usefulness of the object.
Ductility will generally cause visible damage. The capacity of a structure to continue to resist loads
will be impaired.
Several uncertainties with the ductility design strategy is primarily attributed to:
(1) The desired “strong column weak beam” mechanism may not form in reality, due to
existence of walls
(2) Shear failure of columns due to inappropriate geometrical proportions or short- column
(3) Construction difficulty in grouting, especially at beam column joints due to complexity of
steel reinforcements
To enhance structural safety and integrity against severe earthquakes, more effective and reliable
techniques for aseismic design of structures based on structural control concept is desired. Among
the structural control schemes developed, seismic base isolation is one of the most promising
alternatives. It can be adopted for both new structures and as well as to retrofit existing building and

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The term base isolation means separating or decoupling the superstructure from its base or
the foundation. The original terminology of base isolation is more commonly replaced with seismic
isolation as isolation is not always necessarily done at the base level. In case of bridges the
superstructure of the bridge is isolated from the substructure columns with isolators/bearings. In
another sense it is more accurate to express base isolation is separation of structure from seism or

Base isolation is thought of as an aseismic design approach in which the building is protected
from hazards of earthquake forces by a mechanism which reduces the transmission of horizontal
accelerations into the structure. The main strategies to achieve seismic isolation includes period shift
of the structure and cutting-off load transmission path. A base isolator reduces the fundamental
frequency of structural vibration to a value lower than the predominant energy containing
frequencies of the earthquake. Additional means of energy dissipation damping is provided by an
isolator so that the base accelerations are not transferred to the structure.

Advantages gained by a base isolation system include:

 Reduced floor Acceleration and Inter-storey Drift

 Less (or no) Damage to Structural Members

 Better Protection of Secondary Systems

Fixed Base

Base Isolated

Fig: Shift of period in base isolated structures

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Fig: Effect of damping on acceleration of the structure

History of seismic base isolation

The first evidence of
architects using the principle of
base isolation for earthquake
protection was discovered in
Pasargadae, a city in ancient
Persia, now Iran: it goes back to
6th century BC. It works by
having a wide and deep stone and
mortar foundation, smoothed at the
top, upon which a second
foundation is built of wide,
smoothed stones which are linked
together, forming a plate that Fig: Mausoleum von Kyrus dem Großen(Tomb of cyrus): The first
evidence of architects using the principle of base isolation
slides back and forth over the
lower foundation in case of an earthquake, leaving the structure intact.

In ancient day base isolations technique was used in many structures. Such forms of base
isolation included pouring layers of soft sand or gravel under the foundation as well as construction
above a stack cut-out stones. Sometimes Timber was used under Bearing Walls which can roll on

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each other and dissipate the earthquake induced energy. They have been designed and constructed in
a way that allows the ground to move with the rolling movement of the building on the foundation.

The first patent for the recent

innovation of mechanical isolators was
released in 1980.

In India, base isolation technique was

first demonstrated after the 1993 Killari
(Maharashtra) Earthquake. Two single storey
building were built with rubber base isolators
resting on hard ground in Killari town. After
Fig: Use of timber for base isolation the 2001 Bhuj (Gujarat) earthquake, the four-
storey Bhuj Hospital building was built with
base isolation Technique. The new 300-bed hospital was fitted with a New Zealand-developed lead-
rubber base-isolation system after the local hospital in Bhuji was collapsed claiming approx. 176

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Elastomeric Sliding
Isolators Isolators

Low- High-
Natural Lead- Resilient Friction
Damping Damping
Rubber Plug Friction Pendulum
Rubber Rubber
Bearings Bearings System System
Bearings Bearings

The above network shows different categories of seismic isolating system and different types of
isolators under these categories. In this chapter a brief description of different types of isolators are

Acceptance isolator performance criteria of isolators are that they will:

• Remain stable for required design displacements.

• Provide energy dissipation with increasing displacement.

• Not suffer a loss in force-resisting capacity under repeated cyclic loading.

• Have quantifiable engineering parameters (e.g., force-deflection characteristics and


Elastomeric bearing

An elastomeric bearing consists of alternating layers of rubber and steel shims bonded together to
form a unit. Rubber layers are typically 8 mm to 20 mm thick, separated by 2 mm or 3 mm thick
steel shims. The steel shims prevent the rubber layers from bulging and so the unit can support high
vertical loads with small vertical deflections (typically 1 mm to 3 mm under full gravity load). The
internal shims do not restrict horizontal deformations of the rubber layers in shear and so the bearing

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is much more flexible under lateral loads than vertical loads, typically by at least two orders of

Elastomeric bearings have been used extensively for many years, especially in bridges, and samples
have been shown to be functioning well after over 50 years of service. They provide a good means of
providing the flexibility required for base isolation. Elastomeric bearings use either natural rubber or
synthetic rubber (such as neoprene), which have little inherent damping, usually 2% to 3% of critical
viscous damping. They are also flexible at all strain levels and so do not provide resistance to
movement under service loads. Therefore, for isolation they are generally used with special
elastomer compounds (high damping rubber bearings) or in combination with other devices (lead
rubber bearings).

 Natural Rubber Bearing

Natural rubber bearing also known as laminated rubber bearing are manufactured of either
natural rubber or neoprene, a synthetic rubber material famous for its toughness and
durability which has similar behaviour to natural rubber. A typical natural rubber bearing
arrangement is shown below.

Fig: Components of a natural rubber type laminated bearing

Natural rubber bearing comprises of alternating rubber and steel shim layers joined together to
produce a composite bearing by vulcanisation process under pressure. Steel shims add vertical
stiffness to the bearing and hence prevent rocking response of an isolated structure. Steel shims
prevent rubber from bulging out under high axial compressive loads. The shims do not contribute to

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lateral stiffness of bearing as it is controlled by the shear modulus of the elastic material. The bearing
is mounted between two thick endplates to facilitate the connection between the foundation and the
isolation mat.

Though natural rubber bearings are easy to install, the main drawback of this type of bearing are low
damping and it inability to handle service wind loads due to low stiffness. Natural rubber bearing
generally exhibit a critical damping value of 2-3%. Hence natural rubber bearings require additional
damping devices such as viscous or hysteretic dampers to cater for service and extreme seismic

 Lead Rubber Bearing

Fig: Lead rubber bearing

Lead rubber bearings have a much better capability to provide adequate stiffness for lateral loads and
better damping characteristics than that of rubber bearings. The configuration of lead rubber bearing
is same as that of the natural rubber bearing except there is one or more cylindrical lead plugs in the
centre of the arrangement as shown in the figure above. For this reason lead rubber bearings are also
named as lead plug bearings. This arrangement of lead plug gives high stiffness to the structure
under low service and wind loads. Under extreme events, lead deforms plastically reducing the
stiffness of the whole isolation device to the stiffness of rubber alone. During the plastic deformation
of the lead plug energy is being dissipated in a hysteric manner. Lead plug deforms similar as rubber
but dissipates kinetic energy in the form of heat, thus reducing the energy absorbed by the building.

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Lead rubber bearing shows desirable hysteretic damping characteristics which enhances the
structural response of the system

Fig: lead rubber bearing hysteresis

 High Damping Rubber Bearing (HDR)

High damping natural rubber bearing eliminates the use of supplementary damping devices in case of
natural rubber bearing. The component assembly of high damping natural rubber bearing is same as
that of the natural rubber bearing but the type of elastomeric material used is different. The increase
of damping up to 20-30% is achieved through addition of fillers (carbon, oil and resins) in high
damping natural rubber bearings. For most HDR used to date the effective damping is around 15% at
low strains reducing to 8%-12% for strains above 100%, although some synthetic compounds can
provide 15% or more damping at higher strains.

Sliding isolators

The primary advantage of sliding devices is their ability to eliminate torsional effect in
asymmetric structure. The frictional force utilised in sliding device is equal to the axial force on the
sliding device due to weight. Therefore the centre of gravity of a building coincides with the centre
of the stiffness of the isolation system thus eliminating the torsional effect in asymmetric structures.
The elastomeric bearings have a widespread application though sliding type bearings on the other
hand, are impractical due to lack of restoring capability. To overcome this drawback friction

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pendulum system (FPS) is introduced which utilises a sliding interface to provide restoring stiffness
and to dissipate energy.

 Resilient friction system

Fig: Assembly of resilient friction system

As shown in figure the resilient friction base isolator are composed of a set of metal plates
which can slide on each other with a central rubber core and/or peripheral rubber cores. The
rings are enclosed in a very flexible rubber covering which protects the metal rings from
corrosion and dust. To reduce the friction the sliding plates are coated with Teflon. The
rubber core helps to distribute the lateral displacement and velocity along the height of the
isolator. The resilient friction base isolator is characterised by the coefficient of friction of the
sliding elements and the total lateral stiffness of the rubber core. Under seismic loads friction
damping plays the main role as the energy dissipater rather than the rubber material.

 Friction pendulum bearing (FPB) system

Friction pendulum bearing combine sliding with pendulum action. The arrangement consists
of an articulated slider on a spherical concave chrome surface. The slider is covered with
polished bearing material such as Teflon. The friction coffiecent between the surface is in the
order of 0.1 for high velocity sliding and 0.05 for low velocity sliding. FPS is activated when
earthquake forces exceed the value of static friction. The restoring force in FPS is
proportional to weight supported by the bearing and inversely proportional to the radius of

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curvature of the concave surface. FPS is functionally equivalent to LRB and HDRB in
lengthening structures fundamental period with additional advantages such as period
invariance, torsional resistance, temperature insensitivity and durability. These bearing offer
versatile properties which can satisfy the diverse requirement of building bridges and
industrial facilities.

Fig: FPS assembly and

hysteresis behaviour

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Seismically isolated bridges have been researched and investigated by academia and
engineers for many years. Due to this extensive effort, seismic isolation design has become a
practical option for earthquake resistant design. Results from numerous computer simulations
and shake table experiments have shown the advantages of seismically isolated bridges
compared to non-isolated bridges.

Several studies have proved the efficiency of base isolated structure in regard to
increasing the natural period of the structure as well as reducing the inertial force acting on
structure during seismic condition. For low-rise regular-frame Navy construction situated on
a rock or stiff site and housing-sensitive equipment like computers or costly contents, base
isolation of the columns offers the potential for significant damage reduction and also
possible initial cost savings. It is recommended that consideration be given to base isolation
in the early stages of design formulation. [6]

Types of isolators and its reliability at different earthquake strengths are studied by
many researchers. Lin Su [2] and his team have performed a comparative study on different
base isolators to find their effectiveness. It is shown that in general the base isolation systems
protect the structure from the effects of high amplitude and high frequency oscillations that
fall in the same range as the natural frequencies of the structure. It was found out that all base
isolators perform satisfactorily under common earthquakes. Also for earthquakes with low
frequency energy, NS system and LRB systems are not applicable as they may cause
undesirable amplification of ground excitation. B. C. Lin et al. [10] carried out studies on
different isolator system namely laminated rubber bearing system, the New Zealand system,
and the resilient-friction base isolator system. Results showed that friction plays an important
role in energy absorption and is therefore a key factor contributing to the effectiveness of a
base isolation and R-FBI base-isolator system was found to have the broadest range of

Base isolators are sometimes used side by side with damping systems. J. C.
Ramallo[5] et al. proposed a smart isolated system and compared the effectiveness with lead
rubber bearing system. He concluded that a smart damper, due to its adaptive nature can
reduce base drifts as well, and sometimes better, than the LRB system while simultaneously
reducing structural accelerations, inter story drifts, and base shears. LRB system was found

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out to be partially effective towards seismic accelerations other than the design forces. N.
Wongprasert [8] carried out simulations of FPS and LDR system isolated models and the
results showed 20% reduction in inter-storey drift.

There are cases when the base isolated structure comes in contact with the adjacent
cases. Vasant A. Matsagar[11] concluded that Superstructure acceleration in base-isolated
building increases significantly due to its impact upon the adjacent structure during an
earthquake. Higher modes of vibration are excited when impact between the base-isolated
building and adjacent structure occurs. Also stiffness of the adjacent structure has significant
influence on the base isolated structure.

Base isolation can be installed in new structures as well for retrofitting of other
structures. It was confirmed by Matsutaro Seki [12] that the base isolation technology is the
feasible retrofitting method in order to conquer the limitation of the weak strength and the
architectural feature of the building. His studies were based on retrofitting on masonry

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For the general representation of a seismically isolated SDOF system the equation of motion iis
given by:

Where where f =supplemental force exerted by the damper or the LRB lead plug; =[1 0] TT gives
the position of the supplemental damper force; 1=vector whose elements are all unity; ẍg g =absolute
ground acceleration.

Equation for frequency of system and base isolator

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Time period T and stiffness of common isolators

 Friction Pendulum system

R= Radius of curvature of the concave surface

g= gravitational acceleration

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Programme used: ABAQUS

Details of the model: Steel frame made of 50 x 50 mm box type steel beam and columns

Thicknesses of the hollow steel beams are 10mm

Bay length= 6 m in all 4 sides





Details of the isolator model: 600 mm dia steel plates (30mm thick)

500mm dia rubber shims.(12nos): 27 mm thick

Fig: [i] fixed base , [ii] base isolated structure

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Fig: Rubber bearng Isolator


Fixed based: frequency at different modes

Base isolated : frequency at different modes

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Fixed based: Displacement (top corner node x direction)

Base isolated: Displacement (top corner node x direction)

Results shows that under dynamic loading the frequency at different modes of fixed base model are
higher than that of base isolated structure. Also the deflection taken at the top end node is larger at
time intervals.

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1. Wang, Yen-Po, Fundementals of seismic base isolation, International training programs for seismic structures,
2. Lin Su, Goodarz Ahmadi, and Iradj G. Tadjbakhsh; Comparative Study Of Base Isolation Systems; Journal of
Engineering Mechanics, Vol. 115,No. 9, September, 1989
3. Saurav Manarbek, Study of Base isolation system, Thesis work-M-tech, Massachusetts Institue of Technology
4. Trevor E Kelly, S.E. Holmes Consulting Group Ltd. Base Isolation Of Structures; Design Guidelines, Revision
5. J. C. Ramallo; E. A. Johnson, A.M.Asce; And B. F. Spencer Jr., M.Asce, ‘‘Smart’’ Base Isolation Systems,
Journal Of Engineering Mechanics / October 2002
6. J.M. Ferritto,1 Member, Studies On Seismic Isolation Of Buildings Journal of Structural Engineering, Vol. 117,
No. 11, November,1991
7. H. W. Shenton , J Associate Member, A. N. Lin, Member, Relative Performance Of Fixed-Base And Base-
Isolated Concrete Frames, Journal of Structural Engineering, Vol. 119, No. 10, October,1993.
8. N. Wongprasert, M. D. Symans, Numerical Evaluation of Adaptive Base-Isolated Structures Subjected to
Earthquake Ground Motions, Journal Of Engineering Mechanics ASCE/ February 2005
9. Satish Nagarajaiah, Andrei M. Reinhorn, Michalakis C. Constantinou, Nonlinear Dynamic Analysis Of 3-
Dbase-Isolated Structures, Journal of Structural Engineering, Vol. 117, No. 7, July, 1991
10. B. C. Lin, I. G. Tadjbakhsh, A. S. Papageorgiou,and G. Ahmadi, Performance Of Earthquakeisolation Systems,
Journal of Engineering Mechanics, Vol. 116, No.2, February, 1990.
11. Vasant A. Matsagar, R.S. Jangid, Seismic response of base-isolated structures during impact with adjacent
structures, Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Powai, Mumbai 400 076,
12. Matsutaro Seki, Masaaki Miyazaki, Yasuhiro Tsuneki And Kunio Kataoka, Masonry School Building
Retrofitted By Base Isolation Technology, 12WCEE2000

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