Seismic Dampers - Friction Dampers

The experts in manufacturing Friction Dampers

How It Works

Friction Dampers
Friction Dampers operate on the principles of a coulomb damper translating kinetic energy into heat by friction.

The Dampers allow the building to move elastically and dissipate the energy of the earthquake. This in turn produces substantial savings as structural elements can be optimized for cost savings.

Friction Dampers are designed to slip before structural members yield. In doing so the building is able to withstand an earthquake without sustaining significant damage to its structure.

Friction dampers are easily modeled and easy to design with . They can be implemented into virtually any project.

Why QuakeTek Dampers? 

Large Friction Dampers
The idea for the first friction damper for seismic control was produced by Dr.Avtar Pall in 1984 and our proprietary manufacturing process and techniques have made the device manufacturable. Our team has perfected these techniques over the last 25 years, ensuring repeatability, reliability and precise tuning for building applications all around the world.

Each friction damper is individually tuned and tested to ensure that it meets the loads and travels modeled by the Structural Engineer.  

Our purpose built facility ensures that the dampers are built in the most efficient manner possible and that costs are minimized without Ever sacrificing quality.

Using this technology provides earthquake protection all while creating major savings in structural costs.
While any two steel members in contact will provide coulomb damping, it is often difficult to obtain consistent results.  If set too low the damper could slip under service loads, while if set too high they could fail to slip at all. If poorly manufactured or if the wrong materials are used the friction damper can suffer from stick-slip, experience cold welding or experience excessive bolt relaxation.

Friction dampers must, therefore, be built under controlled conditions, individually and thoroughly tested  in order to ensure that they operate correctly. 

Friction Damper Design

Friction Damper Sketch

Friction Dampers are either modeled with a rectangular hysteretic loop or as a spring. The two main outputs of the design being the required slip load and travel.

With these two parameters, Quaketek can provide Dampers ranging from 20 to 400kips per damper with travels commonly between 1 and 12 inches. Other sizes can be custom designed as required.

Dampers can be designed for indoor or outdoor applications as the finishes can be adapted for different environments.

Sustainable Design

sustainability of steel construction

Current code requirements often allow buildings to be permanently damaged following a major earthquake as long as the occupants are protected, in other cases, the code requires that buildings remain usable following an earthquake (e.g. hospitals)

Structural elements are therefore often enlarged in order to meet these requirements. A category "A" or "B" building where moment resisting frames and concrete shear walls are used exclusively, is highly inefficient and wasteful. Given that steel and concrete represent major contributors to CO2  emissions, enlarging structural elements should be a last resort.

When buildings are damaged but remain intact the cost to repair is often so significant that the building must be torn down. This outcome is also extremely wasteful, both economically and environmentally.

Using seismic dampers helps allow the building to move and therefore dissipate the energy kinematically instead of storing it in large structural members. Their use ensures that occupants remain protected and that raw materials are used responsibly.