Aggregatore Risorse Aggregatore Risorse

Seismic Isolation and Dissipation a.y. 2020/21


The basic principle of conventional earthquake-resistant design is to ensure an acceptable safety level while avoiding catastrophic failures and loss of life. When a structure does not collapse during a major earthquake, and the occupants can evacuate safely, it is considered that this structure has fulfilled its function even though it may never be functional again. Generally, this approach can be considered adequate for most
types of structures. However, for important structures, safer methods are required, while keeping economic factors in mind. For example, avoiding collapse is not sufficient for facilities that must remain functional immediately after an earthquake: hospitals, police stations, communication centers, and so on. Over the last 30 years, a large amount of research has been conducted into developing innovative earthquake-resistant systems in order to raise the safety level while keeping construction costs reasonable. Most of these systems are intended to dissipate the seismic energy introduced into the structure by supplemental damping mechanisms and/or to isolate the main structural elements from receiving this energy through isolation systems. The main objective of the course is to familiarize Structural Engineers with the various
innovative systems that have demonstrated considerable potential through analytical studies, experimental testing and actual structural implementation. The discussion will focus on passive energy dissipation systems and base isolation systems.

At the end of the course, Structural Engineers should be able to:

  • Provide a critical comparison of various systems.
  • Model and design various systems with general structural engineering software.
  • Recommend optimum systems for particular seismic design or retrofit projects.

The lectures and project tutorials will be delivered online in real time and recorded. The lectures are offered online via Zoom and the project tutorials are offered online via Google Meet with no in-person requirements. The students are encouraged to p articipate in the live online lectures at the specific times. All the live online lectures and project tutorials will be recorded and will be available online on the course Dropbox
for viewing at any time for the remainder of the semester.

Online Lectures on Zoom: Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays 14:00 to 18:30 (Italy Time).
Zoom Link:
Meeting ID: 864 4224 9336
Passcode: 340455
Online Project Tutorials on Google Meet: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays 10:00 am to 12:00 pm (Italy Time)
Google Meet Link:


The objective of the project is to evaluate the effect and recommend an optimum innovative system for the seismic retrofit of a particular building structure. Students are divided into teams of four or five during the first lecture. Each team will be working on the same building structure but will have to consider different specified earthquake design ground motions. Each assignment will represent a phase of the project, and will be related to a particular innovative system discussed in the class. For each system, an optimum retrofit strategy will be sought.
Each team will hand in only one project report at the last lecture. The project report must reflect the various phases of the project and must include the optimum solution for each system. A final recommendation among the various systems studied must be given at the end of the report.
A Peer Reviewer Panel (PRP) will monitor the progress of each team. Each team must meet privately online with the PRP at least twice during the semester. It is the responsibility of each team to contact the PRP to schedule each online meeting. During each meeting, the team must present an update of its progress in the project and seek “big picture” advice from the PRP if required. After each meeting, the PRP will prepare
a letter to the team that provides its opinion on the progress of the team and concerns if any. Each team must include the two letters from the PRP in its final project report and describe how the comments from the PRP were addressed in the execution of the project. If comments from the PRP were not addressed, justifications must be provided. 

The PRP for the project will composed of:
Roberto Merino, Chair (
Derek Rodriguez (
After the last lecture, each team will make an online oral presentation to the class on the main findings of their project. This online session will be open to the public. 

Note: At the end of the project, each team member will be asked to grade anonymously the performance of all teammates (including him or herself) during the project. This informal grading will help the instructor to grade the project report for each student in the class.




  • Christopoulos, C. and Filiatrault, A. 2006. “Principles of Passive Supplemental Damping and Seismic Isolation,” IUSS Press, University of Pavia, Italy, 2006.

Order online at:

  • Slide sets available on the course Dropbox

André Filiatrault

Professore Ordinario di Tecnica delle costruzioni


Tipologia corso : Caratterizzante

Curriculum : Ingegneria Sismica e Sismologia

Periodo: Semestre I

Anno accademico: 2020-2021

Luogo : on line