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Numerical Simulation of a New 3D Isolation System Designed for a Facility with Large Aspect Ratio

Ying Zhou1,*, Peng Chen1
State Key Laboratory of Disaster Reduction in Civil Engineering, Shanghai, 200092, China.
*Corresponding Author: Ying Zhou. Email: .
(This article belongs to this Special Issue: Advances in OpenSees Applications to Civil Engineering)

Computer Modeling in Engineering & Sciences 2019, 120(3), 759-777.


This paper proposes a novel three-dimensional (3D) isolation system for facilities and presents the numerical simulation approach for the isolated system under earthquake excitations and impact effect using the OpenSees (Open System for Earthquake Engineering Simulation) software frame work. The 3D isolators combine the quasi-zero stiffness (QZS) system in the vertical direction and lead rubber bearing in the horizontal direction. Considering the large aspect ratio of the isolated facility, linear viscous dampers are designed in the vertical direction to diminish the overturning effect. The vertical QZS isolation system is characterized by a cubic force-displacement relation, thus, no elements or materials can model this mechanic behavior in the existing finite element software. This study takes advantage of the open source feature of the OpenSees to create a new material to represent the mechanic properties of the QZS system. Then the user-defined material is combined with the rubber isolator element to model the 3D isolator. Considering different soil types and input magnitudes, six sets of natural seismic records and artificial waves and half sine pulses are selected as the input excitations. A finite element model for the 3D isolated facility is established based on the combined element and the simulation is performed to calculate the time history response. The numerical simulation reveals the flexibility of the OpenSees to deal with new engineering problems, and the results prove that the new 3D isolation system can have an optimal isolation effect in both horizontal and vertical directions. The maximum acceleration response at the top of the facility is below the target limit, and the maximum deformation and the overturning motion of the isolation system can be controlled in a safe range.


3D isolation, quasi-zero stiffness, OpenSees, facility, large aspect ratio

Cite This Article

Zhou, Y., Chen, P. (2019). Numerical Simulation of a New 3D Isolation System Designed for a Facility with Large Aspect Ratio. CMES-Computer Modeling in Engineering & Sciences, 120(3), 759–777.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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