Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Simon Laflamme


The upfront costs of the installation of a vibration damping system in a structure can be significant with respect to total structural costs. A detailed life-cycle cost analysis of the benefits of incorporating a damping system in a structure can show that much of the upfront costs are offset by savings occurring either at the time of construction or over the life of the structure. Semi-active dampers are a modern type of vibration damping system that has received increasing amount of attention in the structural community for its increased performance capabilities with respect to passive systems and significantly lower power requirements with regards to active damping systems.

Currently, there is a gap in the research community between the performance and cost of semi-active dampers. This study aims at closing this gap by evaluating the current performance of passive systems and existing data on semi-active systems. First, we discuss cases where researchers proved that passive dampers can be cost effective while providing significant structural benefits. Secondly, we discuss how other research has shown that semi-active dampers can perform better than passive dampers and in some cases with fewer dampers, which could imply a lower-cost, better-performing damping system than those currently used in practice. Thirdly, we discuss the possible shortcomings and the unknown characteristics of semi-active damping systems, including lack of testing on the resiliency of semi-active dampers and sensors over time, the power requirements for semi-active dampers, the over-idealized testing procedures with control algorithms greatly optimized for a predetermined excitation sequence and the future of codified structural design with regards to structural resiliency in addition to life safety guidelines. The research indicates the possibility of semi-active damping being a more effective damping solution with regards to performance and cost savings compared to passive damping, but more research on semi-active damping is required to affirm the aforementioned claim.


Copyright Owner

Steven Pritchett



File Format


File Size

52 pages