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Projects : CUREE-Caltech Woodframe Project

Element 1 - Testing & Analysis
Task 1.4.7 – Fluid Dampers for Seismic Energy Dissipation of Woodframe Structures 

PI: Michael D. Symans (Washington State University)

Problem Statement

During the 1994 Northridge, California earthquake, billions of dollars worth of damage occurred to light-framed wood buildings. Such structures have generally received minimal attention from the earthquake engineering research community. Reasons for this lack of attention include the assumption that such structures carry relatively small seismic forces due to their low weight and that their ability to dissipate energy is relatively high. However, such structures have experienced significant damage during strong earthquakes to the extent that that they are no longer capable of serving their function. Thus, there is a need for a cost-effective method by which light-framed wood buildings could be protected from strong earthquakes such that they remain standing with minimal damage.

Main Objective

The main objective of this research project is to investigate the suitability of fluid dampers for seismic protection of light-framed wood buildings.


The objective will be met by performing an analytical/numerical study of wood building components (shear walls) and systems (3-D house) with and without fluid viscous dampers. In addition, practical issues associated with the implementation of fluid dampers within light-framed wood buildings will be investigated (e.g., number of dampers required, suitable location of dampers, and cost-effectiveness of dampers).

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last updated 03.23.15