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BRBF (Buckling Restrained Braced Frame), originally known as UBB (UnBonded Brace) - These are a type of

energy dissipation product being offered by several (three) manufacturers in both Japan and the USA. Nippon Steel
from Japan, and CoreBrace / Star Seismic in the USA are the manufacturers/suppliers. In all cases, the BRBF
device is comprised of two items: a small diameter steel bar with an outer concrete/steel casing. The purpose of the
outer concrete/steel casing is to keep the thin steel bar from buckling in compression. Between the thin bar and the
outer concrete/steel casing is some type of lubrication to keep the two parts from sticking together, thereby making it
"unbonded" or "de-laminated". The idea is to allow the inner steel bar to yield in both compression and tension to
dissipate energy, while the outer casing prevents buckling.

The advantages of BRBFs are:


1. Yielding steel is a good energy dissipater, and is predictable.
2. BRBFs yield in both tension and compression, which is better than regular bracing, only yielding in tension.

The disadvantages of BRBFs are:


1. You can use any type of steel bracing to yield for energy dissipation. Eccentric bracing can be better than BRBF.
2. BRBFs are often high cost compared to FVDs, and certainly more expensive than typical bracing.
3. BRBFs add stiffness to the structure, which is counter-productive when adding damping.
4. BRBFs yield and after an earthquake occurs, must be assessed/replaced before aftershocks occur.
5. There is potential for corrosion to occur between the BRBF interfaces, thereby "bonding" the brace.
6. When testing, the BRBF becomes yielded, which degrades earthquake performance (yielding causes damage).
7. BRBF goes from elastic brace to yielding brace, only providing energy dissipation at the yield level of the steel.
8. BRBFs may have local buckling issues. When pulled in tension, the thin bar is extended out of the casing.
Compression could then cause buckling of this exposed, unsupported portion of the bar (local buckling).
9. BRBF cannot provide energy dissipation for low level earthquakes, nor can they adjust for higher level
earthquakes like an FVD with F=CV.

California Engineers:
Engineers in California that have used these devices, typically just use the BRBF for added stiffness, and plan for
useful energy dissipation in the event of an earthquake (this is a very expensive way to add stiffness and a poor way
to "hope" for some energy dissipation).

Japanese Engineers:
The Japanese do not like to use BRBFs “alone” in a building structure because the braces yield. After a piece of
steel yields, the leftover strength is unknown. It may be about to fail, or it may still have some reserve strength left.
The Japanese would not want to depend on something that has these unknown characteristics. They would replace
all the BRBF's after any earthquake. In more modern designs, the Japanese are using BRBF with fluid viscous
dampers. In these projects, the FVDs provide the energy dissipation, and the BRBF is used for added stiffness. In
the case of an extra-large earthquake, the BRBF may yield and the Japanese engineers hope this will help the
building performance.

The various manufacturers’ websites are listed below. Not much available from Nippon Steel (nsc website). The
differences between the manufacturers are generally in the way they connect the ends of the brace (pin connection,
rigid connection, etc.).

http://www.starseismic.net
http://www.corebrace.com
http://www0.nsc.co.jp/shinnihon_english/jigyo/index.html