Innovation Award of Excellence: Viscoelastic Coupling Damper (VCD)

Constantin Christopoulos
University of Toronto, Toronto

Michael Montgomery
Chief Technical Officer
Kinetica, Toronto

A Space-Saving Seismic Solution

The Viscoelastic Coupling Damper (VCD) effectively protects tall buildings against both wind storms and strong earthquakes. Because of its range of effectiveness from very small to large displacements, it offers the unprecedented ability to simultaneously control all dynamic loads, from frequent wind storms to hurricanes, and small earthquakes to maximum considered earthquakes, within a single system. This improves human comfort, decreases structure costs, improves resiliency, increases safety and protects the owner’s assets. The VCD consists of two modular panels, with viscoelastic high-damping material sandwiched between steel plates, bolted to steel beams and then anchored to reinforced concrete walls in coupling-beam or outrigger configurations. Because VCDs replace structural members, they do not impact the architectural use of the building in any way, and therefore building owners do not need to allocate significant space at the top of the building for vibration absorbers, commonly used for mitigating wind-vibration perception problems. In addition, the damper offers reliability, as its performance does not require any maintenance or tuning to ensure efficiency.