Ring spring dampers

Passive control system for seismic protection of structures

  • Nagui W. Bishay-Girges Kirk Roberts Consulting Engineers, Christchurch, New Zealand
  • Athol J. Carr University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand


When a structure is excited by an earthquake ground motion the input energy may be reduced by inelastic action or by supplemental damping devices. If the seismic energy dissipation can be achieved by means of separate non-load bearing supplementary damping systems, the structure itself can remain elastic providing a continuing serviceability following the design level earthquake.

This paper illustrates the advantages of using added, or supplemental, damping in structures. The control system consists of passive friction dampers installed in the ground floor of the structure using tendons to transmit the damper forces to the other parts of the structure. The damping forces generated by the dampers are transferred to the structure by the tendons and horizontal links that oppose the inertial loads applied to the structure by the earthquake excitation. The dampers are ring spring friction devices consisting of inner and outer ring elements assembled to a form a spring interface. A four storey-two bay steel frame was used in the study.


Carr, A.J, “RUAUMOKO- Inelastic dynamic analysis program”, Computer Program Library, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Canterbury.

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RINGFEDER GMH, Friction Springs, Ringfeder in Mech. Eng., Report R60E, 40pp.

Nagui William Bishay-Girges, 2004 PhD thesis, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Canterbury, “Seismic Protection of Structures Using Passive Control System”.

Pettinga, J.D. Oliver, S. and Kelly, T.E. “A Design Office Approach to Supplemental Damping Using Fluid Viscous Dampers”, Steel Innovations Conference 2013, Christchurch, New Zealand.

Tail, J., Finnegan, J. and Sidwell, G., Aurecon New Zealand Ltd, Wellington, New Zealand “A Low Damage Design Solution for a 15 Storey Steel Framed Building”, New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering Conference 2013.

How to Cite
Bishay-Girges, N. W., & Carr, A. J. (2014). Ring spring dampers. Bulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering, 47(3), 173-180. https://doi.org/10.5459/bnzsee.47.3.173-180

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