Experimental Characterization of Piezoelectric Friction Dampers


A piezoelectric friction damper was designed and fabricated to control the 1/4-scale, three-story frame structure in the Structures Laboratory at the University of Missouri-Rolla. In this paper, the damper is characterized in terms of energy dissipation, frequency and temperature dependence, and long-term durability under harmonic loading.

The damper was tested with four piezoelectric stack actuators, as critical components of the damper were subjected to constant voltages to simulate the behavior of passive friction dampers. It was also tested under linearly increasing voltage signals to understand the adaptability of the damper to external electric energy. Based on the experimental results, it was concluded that the load-displacement loops of the damper are nearly rectangular and the effective stiffness of the damper linearly increases with the clamping force. The area of each loop does not change significantly with the excitation frequency. The properties of the damper do not vary with its ambient temperature and remain almost the same after being tested for 30000 cycles. The friction coefficient of the damper is independent upon the excitation frequency (higher than 2 Hz) and the clamping force (larger than 100 pounds on each actuator). Although the friction force increases with the applied voltage, its magnitude is significantly smaller than expected. Several possible reasons for less friction were pinpointed.

Meeting Name

8th Annual International Symposium on Smart Structures and Materials: Smart Systems for Bridges, Structures, and Highways (2001: Mar. 4-8, Newport Beach, CA)


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Second Department

Materials Science and Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Adaptive contact force; Friction damper; Piezoelectric actuators; Semi-active control; Variable friction; Actuators; Damping; Electric excitation; Electric potential; Harmonic generation; Loads (forces); Structural frames; Thermal effects; Piezoelectric devices

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


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© 2001 SPIE -- The International Society for Optical Engineering, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Mar 2001