Combined primary-secondary system approach to the design of an equipment isolation system with High-Damping Rubber Bearings
Isolating acceleration-sensitive equipment from the motion of the supporting structure represents an effective protection from earthquake damage. In this paper, a passive equipment isolation system composed of High-Damping Rubber Bearings (HDRB) is designed by adopting a coupled approach in which the supporting structure and the isolated equipment are considered as parts of a combined primary-secondary system and analyzed together. This allows for taking into account their dynamic interaction when significant and non-negligible according to the mass ratio and to the frequency ratio. The design methodology is developed by resorting to a reduced-order 2-DOF model of the combined system, a linear visco-elastic constitutive model of the isolation system and to a modal damping constraint depending upon the damping properties of the HDRB and their rubber compound. A 1:5 scale experimental model, consisting of a two-storey steel frame and a heavy block-type mass isolated from the second floor, is subsequently used to exemplify the design methodology and to perform shaking table tests. The dynamic properties of the experimental model are identified and the seismic performance of the equipment isolation system is discussed under a wide selection of seismic inputs, both artificial and natural.