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Engineering Structures 29 (2007) 18891902
Built in dampers for family homes via SMA: An ANSYS computation
scheme based on mesoscopic and microscopic experimental analyses
V. Torra
, A. Isalgue
, F. Martorell
, P. Terriault
, F.C. Lovey
CIRG-DFA-ETSECCPB, Univ. Pol. de Catalunya, E-08034 Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Ecole de technologie sup erieure, H3C 1K3, Montreal, Qu ebec, Canada
Centro Atomico Bariloche, Instituto Balseiro, 8400 S.C. de Bariloche, Argentina
Received 14 November 2005; received in revised form 16 August 2006; accepted 17 August 2006
Available online 28 November 2006
Shape memory alloys (SMA) are good candidates for solid state dampers because of their large recoverable strain and hysteresis. In this work,
experimental analysis and modeling of the thermomechanical behavior for two SMAs is done. The SMA models are developed and included in
a nite element simulation environment (ANSYS). Using these developing tools, a complete damping solution for a family house is outlined.
The paper presents the design and optimization methodology for the dampers, analyzes their performance, and quanties the relevant physical
effects from the experimental measurements. The simulation results show that the SMA dampers are capable of reducing the maximum oscillation
amplitude induced by El Centro accelerations by a factor 2 and that they dissipate 50% of the energy transmitted to the structure. Furthermore,
SMA dampers constitute a passive, unsupervised damping solution appropriate for family houses.
c 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Earthquake damping; Passive control; Shape memory alloys (SMA); Martensitic phase transformation; Diffusion; Self-heating; Finite element analysis
1. Introduction
Increasing the quality of life is one of the main goals of
smart materials and systems. In houses, one of the practical
problems is the suppression/reduction of external perturbation
phenomena (vibrations/oscillations) via the integration of
actuators and sensors in the structure [1]. In Civil Engineering,
two different kinds of oscillation phenomena can be considered:
rst, repeated or continuous oscillations with different
amplitude scales, such as those induced by wind and rain
in large structures (sky-scrapers, high towers, and stayed
cables in bridges); second, the particular situation induced
by earthquakes: the action of scarce groups of large waves
after several years of complete inactivity. This situation is
different from those considered in other technical areas, such
as Mechanical Engineering, where other time scales may be
considered. One example of such phenomena includes groups

Corresponding address: Polytechnical University of Catalonia, CIRG-

DFA-ETSECCPB, C/. Gran Capita s/n, Campus Nord B-4, 08034 Barcelona,
Spain. Tel.: +34 934016859; fax: +34 934015972.
E-mail address: (V. Torra).
of oscillations occurring in relatively short time interval (i.e.,
one or two weeks), such as satellite launching or the continuous
effects in wheels, for instance in car driving.
The use of classical dampers, for instance, in reinforced
isolated buildings (e.g. rubberlead bearings) after an event
requires the recentering of devices and, also, appropriate
structure displacements are required to renew the bearings
after a few years. The actual development of smart systems
for use in damping of sky-scrapers, high towers, and stayed
cables in bridges uses dampers based in magneto-rheological
uids [2] with semi-active control systems. Eventually, using
tuned masses when appropriate. These, and similar devices,
need supervision and maintenance. For instance, the problems
introduced by the eventual long time intrinsic instability of
the damping uid or the changes in control hardware and
software modifying/affecting the proprietary programs need to
be carefully solved. In fact, all active devices are inappropriate
and expensive for relatively small constructions: at extremely
long times (several decades), a well guaranteed passive method
is a better approach.
In the recent literature, Shape memory alloys (SMA) [3,
4] are suggested for damping in civil structures [512].
0141-0296/$ - see front matter c 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
1890 V. Torra et al. / Engineering Structures 29 (2007) 18891902
Fig. 1. Left: External view of the sample family house. Right: Structural sketch of the house.
The singular properties of the SMA i.e., the shape memory
effect, the pseudoelasticity, or the hysteresis cycle are due
to a martensitic thermoelastic phase transformation between
metastable phases. SMA can be used as sensors and/or
actuators and, also, their hysteresis cycle, which converts
work (oscillation energy) into heat, allows the use of SMA
(initially, in the parent phase) as dampers with recentering
capabilities (as opposed to working in the martensite phase
without recentering). In the passive application domain, without
external power, the practical SMA can be classied into two
groups, the Cu-based and the NiTi alloys. There are always
some possible tunable actions (or use of semi-active control
methods) for SMA, but the main interest for use on the Civil
Engineering time scales focuses on their use as passive devices
without continuous technical supervision or, eventually, via the
development of passive self-adjusting methods.
The use of SMAs for earthquake damping requires a
deep knowledge of static and dynamic SMA and structure
properties. Also, an evaluation of the long time diffusive
contributions related to atomic order evolution is required [4,
1215]. For instance, the devices need to be guaranteed after
several decades under the action of summerwinter temperature
effects. Any evolution (macroscopic or microscopic) should be
suppressed or, at least, controlled or, at least, acknowledged.
The applicability of each alloy must be assured for each
application. The particular applicability of NiTi in the health
domain (i.e., orthodontic and surgical devices) [3] does not
imply automatically an excellent behavior in other domains.
The correct response of SMA dampers requires avoiding the
plastic deformation associated with cycling, at high stress and
temperature, which progressively increases the damper length.
The accumulated deformation may be practically suppressed
by keeping the damper inside the recoverable limits dened by
the pseudoelastic window (PEW). The PEW is determined by
the material composition and its thermomechanical treatment,
which ensures an appropriate material behavior. Some recent
applications fail to ensure a guaranteed behavior by, apparently,
not considering the effects associated with temperature changes
(summerwinter or self-heating) [16,17].
Light buildings, such as single or double oor family houses,
under the effects of an earthquake (i.e. El Centro [18]),
suffer oscillation amplitudes close to 10 cm and reaction forces
under 800 kN. These buildings are usually unprotected against
earthquakes due to the cost of actual damping systems and their
maintenance. To illustrate the damping capabilities of SMA, we
have designed a building [19] according to structural Spanish
standards [20]. Fig. 1 left shows a general view of the house
(ground area 11.5 16.6 m
). It is a two story building with
approximately 200 m
on the ground oor and 100 m
the rst oor. The structure has two main sections divided by
a ground garden. The front section has a single oor with a
second garden on the roof establishing an excellent view from
the main living area (the second oor in the back section). The
structure of the building has been designed with steel beams
to increase its robustness. Fig. 1 right depicts the complete
beam structure according to the structural requirements in
Barcelona. The possible emplacement for the dampers in the
portico diagonals is also indicated. In this paper, we focus our
efforts on the damping of the single oor section which has the
higher load due to the elevated garden.
The goal of this work is to reduce the oscillation amplitudes
by at least a factor 2, thereby avoiding structural damage
in the building (oscillation amplitudes under the steel plastic
deformation) and providing a self-recentering capacity. The
system is passive and must not require supervision. The
dampers are designed to work optimally for a given earthquake
magnitude (6.07.0 degrees in the Richter scale as, for
instance, the earthquake El Centro used in simulation). For
events below the nominal level, neither the dampers nor the
structure suffer any damage. Earthquakes in the nominal range
may produce damage in the dampers as they dissipate the
mechanical energy. After the event, it is necessary to revise
the dampers. For larger earthquakes, both the dampers and the
building structure may suffer structural damage and must be
checked afterwards. In this worst situation, the dampers are still
able to reduce the oscillation amplitudes by a factor of nearly
one half and recenter the structure due to the materials large
recoverable strain.
The main target of this work is to provide a passive and
unsupervised damping solution with recentering capabilities
for family houses (light civil structures) via appropriately
guaranteed SMAs. The paper furnishes a complete damping
V. Torra et al. / Engineering Structures 29 (2007) 18891902 1891
Fig. 2. Schematic behavior of the hysteresis cycles in , , T representation.
solution. In this work, the SMA damper characteristics
required for this application are described. Once the relevant
SMA properties for Civil Engineering are outlined and the
hysteresis cycle and temperature effects modeled, the house
structure is established and the damping capabilities of this
solution are shown by simulating the house response under
several earthquake events extracted from the literature using
ANSYS [21]. The paper is divided into three parts. The rst
part contains an outline of the SMA properties especially
considering all necessary conditions for this application
(Sections 2 and 3). The second part is devoted to a
phenomenological model adapted to ANSYS requirements
(Section 4). The third part centers on the dynamical simulation
(Section 5). Remarks and improvements are presented in the
2. Basic SMA behavior
The origin of the peculiar properties of SMA is a
rst-order solidsolid phase transformation between two
metastable phases with hysteresis cycle. In single crystals,
this thermoelastic martensitic transformation produces a
shape change (shear type) inducing length change of up to
10% in the appropriate crystallographic direction (Fig. 2).
Martensitic transformations may be induced by stress ()
and temperature (T). In the phase coexistence between
parent and martensite, the macroscopic coupling between the
stress and temperature is related by the ClausiusClapeyron
coefcient (CCC) (dened by the slope = d/dT) [3,22].
Classically, in temperature induced transformations without
external stresses, the hysteresis cycle may be described by four
temperatures. Starting from austenite (high temperature phase),
Ms (martensite start) establishes the initial appearance of
martensite, and Mf (martensite nish) the complete conversion
to martensite. The backwards process starts with As (austenite
start). The end of the retransformation process is characterized
by Af (austenite nish) with the complete recovery of the parent
The Fig. 2 depicts the hysteresis cycle for different working
temperatures. As the temperature increases, the critical stress
) necessary to initiate the phase transformation also in-
creases (
) according to thermody-
namic formalism (i.e., ClausiusClapeyron equation [23]). The
cycle is not modied by this shift, but it is necessary to con-
sider that the working temperatures near the spontaneous trans-
formation temperature (martensite start or Ms) may prevent the
return to parent phase in the unloading process due to the hys-
teresis width (
) (see, point a in Fig. 2). Temperatures which
are too high (>T
) may produce a stress which overcomes the
plastic deformation level (
) for a given strain, producing a
permanent deformation in the alloy or, eventually, its fracture.
The macroscopic pseudoelasticity or the slope (d/d) in the
transformation zone, the hysteresis in coordinates of stress (),
strain () and temperature (T), and the ClausiusClapeyron
equation are the more relevant thermomechanic macroscopic
properties in damping applications. These properties depend
on the material characteristics, the sample preparation, and the
evolution of the sample while cycling (see Figs. 3 and 4).
3. Experimental analysis of SMA
In this work, the applicability of two different SMA are
studied. The rst is CuAlBe, a Cu-based polycrystalline alloy.
Wires of CuAlBe of several diameters were produced and
furnished by Tremetaux, France in the years 2003 and 2004.
For the cast AH140, the reference data are: Ms = 255 K; Mf =
226 K; As = 253 K; Af = 275 K. The chemical composition
in weight per cent is: Al = 11.8%; Be = 0.5%; Cu = 87.7%.
The samples were cut, when necessary, by a low speed diamond
saw (ISOMET), mechanically polished with ne grinding paper
and, eventually, electropolished. The standard heat treatment
for Cu-based alloys consists of an appropriate homogenization
or betatization via a short time at high temperature (1123 K),
followed by a fast quench in water at room temperature (293 K)
and a long aging at temperatures between roomtemperature and
373 K.
The second alloy is NiTi. The analysis carried out in NiTi
uses mostly wires with diameters of 0.5 mm, surface as hard
black oxide (Fig. 3(a)), and 2.46 mm with surface light
oxide (Fig. 3(b)) of a superelastic NiTi alloy from Special
Metals [11], which is used as furnished (55.8 wt% of Ni). In
this situation, from TEM analysis, the grain size is determined
to be around 50 nm. In addition, some samples prepared from
an alloy with 44.1 wt% Ti and 55.9 wt% Ni with wire length
80 mm and diameter 0.5 mm are also studied (Fig. 3(c)).
The preparation process consists of a further heat treatment
of the as received wire followed by mechanical cycling.
That is, aging at 673 K for 30 min followed by 15 stabilizing
mechanical cycles at room temperature at a strain rate of
0.1 mm/s with a maximal deformation of 4%.
3.1. Experimental setup
As SMA are relatively new materials and their application
to Civil Engineering is innovative, there are no established
measurement and characterization standard procedures (a
single ASME criteria related to SMA is available, which
only species the determination qualitative information
of characteristic temperatures [24]), and ad hoc procedures
need to be used. To characterize the behavior of these alloys,
we have used four types of complementary experimental
measurements. (1) For thermomechanical and transient analysis
(force or stress, deformation or strain, temperature and time),
1892 V. Torra et al. / Engineering Structures 29 (2007) 18891902
Fig. 3. Shapes of the hysteresis cycle and bilinear models in NiTi. (a) Thin wire (diameter: 0.5 mm). (b) Thick wire (diameter 2.46 mm after 130 fast cycles).
(c) Thin wire general hysteresis shape after heat treatment.
Fig. 4. Hysteretic behavior for CuAlBe and NiTi alloy. Progressive creep on cycling for samples with standard heat treatments.
an INSTRON 5567 with coolerheater chamber 3119-005 and
a Materials Test System MTS 810 were used. For thinner
NiTi wires, an ENDURATEC Bose ELF 3200 testing machine
has been used. Also, for long time analysis, equivalent low-
cost home-made devices are used. (2) For temperature induced
transformations, calorimetric equipment (such as the Q1000
DSC of TA Instruments), and resistance measurements provide
information about the transformation temperatures at zero
stress. (3) The long time analysis is mostly measured using
data with more than 4 gures (resolution near 1 in 10,000) for
resistance measurements R(t, T). (4) Also, when necessary, X-
rays and TEM or HRTEM are used to characterize the samples
structure and optical microscopy is used to characterize grain
3.2. Relevant SMA behavior for Civil Engineering
Our dampers are based on the physical properties of the
SMA. So, the relationship between stressstraintemperature is
the determinant for the correct response of these dampers. All
the phenomena that affect this relationship must be evaluated
to ensure a long time guaranteed system. In this section, we
review and quantify the effects that must be considered for this
V. Torra et al. / Engineering Structures 29 (2007) 18891902 1893
Fig. 5. Permanent deformation (or creep) with cycling in CuAlBe alloy. (a) Standard heat treatment. (b) Enhanced thermomechanical treatment that reduces remnant
deformation in samples.
Table 1
Experimental CCC values for the studied CuAlBe and NiTi alloys (SM= Special Metals)
Samples CuAlBe (Nimesis) CuAlBe (Tremetaux) NiTi (SM) NiTi (SM)
CCC (MPa/K) 2.12 2.26 6.23; 6.59 6.38; 5.94
Diameter (mm) 1.6 3.4 0.5 2.46
Cycles realized 13 13 1 and 130 1 and 130
3.2.1. Permanent deformation and heat treatment
The permanent deformation of the alloy (i.e., a cumulative
SMA creep) is probably the most important problem in this
application. If the SMA length increases permanently with
cycling, the practical strain is reduced along with the amount
of mechanical energy which is converted into heat. If the SMA
creep is large enough, the lower oscillation amplitudes may
not even start the transformation in the alloy, and the energy
dissipation is zero. Furthermore, the reaction force produced by
the dampers is zero or greatly reduced. The preparation of SMA
is crucial for keeping permanent deformation under acceptable
values and avoiding the modication of the hysteresis cycle.
Fig. 4 shows the behavior of CuAlBe and NiTi samples with a
standard heat treatment. The cumulative SMA creep and the
cycle deformation with a great loss of hysteresis width are
clearly observed. Our group has developed a heat treatment for
CuAlBe (extruded wires) that permits us to eliminate the creep
for deformation under 4.5% (Fig. 5) [14]. At the moment, there
is no similar treatment furnishing similar results for NiTi [25].
For CuAlBe samples with a 3.4 mm diameter, the standard
betatization of the alloy (i.e., two minutes at 1123 K with
immediate quenching in water and, later, 1 h at 373 K), provides
a wire with a satisfactory level of working stresses (fracture
above 350 MPa) and deformation (6% or more) for a series
of cycles. The material with standard heat treatment shows
a relevant and accumulative permanent deformation (creep)
while cycling (see Fig. 5(a), the deformation against time for
several fast hundreds of cycles at frequencies of 0.5 or 0.25 Hz).
The available working deformation is nearly constant at 3%
as an increasing creep tracks the progressive deformation. The
enhanced heat treatment, by increasing the betatization time,
increases the grain diameter (i.e., the mean grain radius roughly
changes from 0.14 to 0.75 mm), causing it to approach the
behavior of a single crystal. The extended homogenization time
in the furnace at 1123 K, in addition to the aging at 373 K,
reduces the accumulated deformation (see Fig. 5(b)) with
minor degradation of the mechanical properties (the fracture
level reduces to near 300 MPa). The observations recommend
using a deformation under 4.5% (sample fracture over 6%)
with a remnant deformation below 0.25% at room temperature
(293 K). At this level, the material works in an intermediate
position inside the PEW.
3.2.2. ClausiusClapeyron coefcient in parentmartensite
phase coexistence
The effects induced by external temperature changes
or by self-heating during damping dissipation produce a
displacement in the stress axis of the hysteresis cycle. A
reasonable simulation requires a well known experimental
value of the CCC [(d f /dT)
or (d/dT)
] with an
uncertainty below 10%. The CCC can be well established
for single crystals in particular, when parasitic effects
(such as minor local composition changes and the intrinsic
pseudoelasticity) are minimized from a thermodynamic
analysis in the frame of the First and Second Thermodynamic
Laws [22,23]. However, in polycrystalline materials, the
progressive interaction among martensite variants, in different
grains, provides a cycle with relevant pseudoelasticity (see
Fig. 3(b) and (c)), and it is necessary to experimentally evaluate
the CCC for each wire type (Table 1). In the CuAlBe alloys,
the initial part of the transformation (deformation under 2% or
3%) is used in order to avoid the accumulative creep. In NiTi,
it is convenient to do some preliminary cycles. The inexion
point in the transformation path (
f /x
= 0) is
used to evaluate the CCC in hysteresis cycles such as those in
Fig. 3(b) and (c). After several sets of measurements, the CCC
1894 V. Torra et al. / Engineering Structures 29 (2007) 18891902
Fig. 6. Self-heating effects in SMA wires. (a) CuAlBe wire (diameter 3.4 mm). (b) NiTi wire (diameter 2.46 mm).
Table 2
Diffusion phenomena and asymptotic temperature effects on Ms for the studied alloys
Alloy CuAlZn [4] CuAlBe NiTi

at T 1390 s at 373 K 1.95 days at 373 K 1.9 days at 410 K

at T 11 020 s at 353 K 4.63 days at 353 K 55 days at 363 K
Activation energy 13 630 K 5790 K 10 700 K

at T 47 200 s at 373 K

at T 226 700 s at 353 K
Activation energy 10 330 K
100 Ms/T
) 14
Only one time constant from Ms measurements.
Rough approach, time constants are from resistance measurements against time; Ms changes are determined from changes in peak positions in DSC
is evaluated. For CuAlBe, it is close to 2.2 MPa/K and, for
NiTi, the value approaches 6.3 MPa/K. The overall uncertainty
is below 10%.
3.2.3. Self-heating
Self-heating effects are highly dependent on the frequency
rate, deformation percentage, and sample cross section. At the
present state of the art, each alloy wire requires an independent
evaluation. In fact, the transformation mechanism is different:
CuAlBe transforms in distributed domains along the material
and in NiTi is more like the progress of transformation front.
In the experiments, oscillations with amplitudes of up to 3.5%
can produce average temperature uctuations up to 10 K in
CuAlBe wires with a 3.4 mm diameter. Fig. 6(a) shows its
temperature increase for several cycling rates (0.021 Hz) and
strains (1%4%). In the study of the dynamic behavior of
NiTi, it seems that the experimental temperature increase is
approximately twice that observed in the equivalent CuAlBe
samples. Fig. 6(b) depicts NiTi temperature increase for cycling
at 0.5 Hz and deformation of 5%.
3.2.4. Summerwinter temperature effects
Summerwinter temperature changes induce two actions.
First, the direct stress changes through the CCC. Second, the
diffusion contributions induced by time and temperature. The
diffusive effects act at different levels. Initially, they act in
the parent phase, immediately after quenching. Later, when
the quench effects are homogenized, appear in the parent
and in the martensite phase and, also, in phase coexistence.
The martensite stabilization in CuAlZn [3,4] and in other
Cu-based alloys increases, for instance, the transformation
temperature. In particular, when the material is transformed
in martensite immediately after quenching, the stabilization is
very relevant [26,27]. This effect is one of the drawbacks for the
application of these alloys. In particular, the practical interests
usually demand long time in martensite or in phase coexistence
with no relevant change of behavior. After stabilization, the
material requires a higher temperature (an increase of 100 K or
higher) or an equivalent stress reduction to recover the parent
A phenomenological approach suggests that the temperature
and the stress in the parent phase produce a similar effect
on the subsequent martensitic transformation [13,28]. The
internal state of the sample under the external thermodynamic
forces (i.e., stress and temperature) is progressively modied.
The analysis via external temperature actions in the parent
phase shows that the transformation temperature tracks the
external temperature via an exponential behavior [4]. Each time
constant, highly temperature dependent, is related to a different
activation energy and asymptotic change in Ms. Table 2 shows
the transformation temperature changes associated with a step
at room temperature (close to 10% for one time constant),
the time constant and the activation energy for CuZnAl and
for CuAlBe (only one activation energy is evaluated). Also, a
preliminary evaluation for the values for NiTi is included.
V. Torra et al. / Engineering Structures 29 (2007) 18891902 1895
Fig. 7. Static coexistence effects in CuAlBe. The deformation increase after 3 days at constant stress in CuAlBe alloy is shown.
Table 3
Expected changes in CuAlBe (
< 300 MPa) and in NiTi alloy (
< 700 MPa)
Parameters T (K) (CuAlBe) T (K) (NiTi)
Hysteresis width 3050 1535
Summerwinter 40 40
Self-heating (3.5% in used wires) 10 20
Quenched sample 5
Phase coexistence (dynamic) 10 4.5
Summerwinter tracking and asymptotic 3; 5.5 1; 6
Security level 1020 1020
Global effect 110 or near 240 MPa 100 or near 630 MPa
The CCC approaches, respectively, 2.2 MPa/K and 6.3 MPa/K. The manufacturer establishes that the yield strength of NiTi is close to 700 MPa.
Indicative values.
3.2.5. Coexistence effects
The parent and martensite phases coexist along the whole
transformation curve [4]. The dynamic coexistence, when
cycling, produces changes related to diffusion (enhanced by
the presence and displacement of interfaces) and to self-heating
produced by latent heat and frictional contributions associated
with the hysteresis cycle. In Cu-based alloys and quasi-static
conditions, a progressive increase in the quantity of martensite
is observed at constant stress and temperature (see Fig. 7).
Alternatively, at constant strain, a decrease of stress would
exist. Preliminary analysis of NiTi shows particular effects in
parent phase and coexistence coherent with CuAlBe. In fact,
these effects indicate that set-ups with pre-strained SMA seems
inappropriate for long time applications.
3.3. Pseudo-elastic window usage
All of these physical properties of SMA can be summarized
in the evaluation of the PEW usage [12]. The contribution
of each effect is evaluated as a temperature increase through
which the CC coefcient is converted to a stress change. The
PEW must consider all relevant effects plus a certain security
level. Table 3 shows the evaluation of the PEW for the studied
alloys. Fromthese evaluations, the importance of CCCis shown
(translates temperature changes into stress and vice versa). For
higher temperature uctuations (room temperature and/or self-
heating), the NiTi alloy may overcome the plastic deformation
4. SMA model for structural simulations
Modeling the SMA behavior is a complex topic of
permanent interest. See [4] and related references and, for
several recent approaches, [2936]. The inherent complexity of
the martensitic transformation of SMA requires a formulation
at various depth levels. The importance of each level depends
on the requirements which are to be satised by the material in
the working situations. Each material presents several different
time scales. There are fast effects related to thermomechanical
oscillations governing the damping actions under earthquake
effects, and slow effects governed by atomic diffusion that
determine the material lifetime and usefulness. All these effects
must be considered when designing damping applications
for Civil Engineering. We have developed one dimensional
(1D) models especially considering traction, temperature, and
diffusion effects, which are the most relevant effects for our
4.1. The 5 levels of the complete model
The rst 1D model that considers most relevant physical
effects was developed for a CuAlZn single crystal [4,33,37].
1896 V. Torra et al. / Engineering Structures 29 (2007) 18891902
Fig. 8. Mechanical hysteresis cycle denes a single transformation domain.
Total (1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-1), partial (1-2-3-b-c-8-9-1), or internal (a-b-c-d)
cycles are depicted. The CSRT position (A) depends on thermal and atomic
diffusion phenomena.
The model is built from observations on SMA single crystals
which transform from the beta to martensite phase with small
transformation domains along the sample. The model mimics
the physical transformation structure of a single crystal (and
roughly of polycrystal material). For this reason, it is built by
a large number, L (5001000 elements), of similar elements
or domains. Each transformation domain is described by the
coordinates stress (or force f ), deformation (or lengthening
x), temperature (T), and time (t ) [37], and supposes ve levels
of analysis:
Level 0: Classical thermomechanical representation: This
level describes the classical dilatation coefcient and the
Young modulus (in the parent and martensite phase). These
effects are superimposed onto the phase transformation, atomic
evolutions, and thermal effects.
Level 1: Mechanical representation of phase transition:
The detailed physical analysis describes the martensitic
transformation from the phenomenological data in the intrinsic
parameters. This level considers classical nucleation and
growth of the phase transformation for each element of the
wire (or bar) under the action of the external thermodynamic
forces (stress and temperature) as shown in Fig. 8. The plot
illustrates the different paths a domain describes when cycling
by the effect of an external force. For example, the path (1-
2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-1) corresponds to a complete cycle. This path
has a maximum hysteresis width h
. The trajectory a-b-c-d-a
represents an internal loop with a minimum hysteresis width
. The hysteresis cycle is characterized by the Critical Stress
of Reversible Transformation (CSRT) point A in the plot
that places the whole cycle in the force axis. CSRT is affected
by the temperature (level 2) and atomic state of the material
(level 3) thus linking the mechanical actions with the thermal
and diffusive phenomena.
Level 2: Thermal effects: External temperature and dynamical
thermal effects: The sample temperature (external temperature
plus self-heating) modies the mechanical properties of the
material as shown in the experimental description. Self-heating
is not uniform along the sample. Thus, it is necessary to
evaluate frictional and latent heat phenomena and use the
heat transfer Fourier formalism to compute the local sample
temperature (T
Level 3: Atomic diffusion effects: As can be seen from
the experimental data, the material state evolves, thereby
modifying its transformation temperature (for instance, Ms).
Experimental analysis furnishes the time constants for each
diffusion phenomena (parent phase evolution after quench
effects, summerwinter tracking and coexistence).
Level 4: Statistical representation of the material: Each
SMA has its own characteristics that dene the resulting
thermomechanical behavior. For example, single crystal
CuZnAl has a different hysteresis cycle than polycrystal
CuAlBe or NiTi [4,12]. To be able to represent the different
cycles, it is necessary to add statistical information to the
model. This is done by using slightly different parameters for
each transformation domain. The identication process adjusts
all of these parameters.
This model is a 1D distributed model. The global hysteresis
cycle is the result of the behavior of the set of elementary
transformation domains; one for each martensite plate [4,37],
with a statistical scatter in its dening parameters. Using this
approach, the calculation of the model is relatively simple.
It only involves the addition of L simple element responses
instead of a complex global function.
4.2. Model implementation for dynamic structural simulations
A detailed model built from a serial array of transformation
domains is able to accurately predict the long time evolution
and dynamic effects of including SMA [4,37]. However,
the computational load is too large for complex structural
simulations which include several dampers. We use the
predictions of this model to calculate the initial state of
the sample for a given simulation. In fact, three initial
states are calculated: standard, low and high temperature.
Using this information the material response in all working
conditions can be modeled by a simplied model specially
developed for structural simulations. This model is developed
for polycrystalline CuAlBe and NiTi alloys. It is composed
of a set of parallel transformation domains. The parallel
conguration is suitable for simulation environments, like in
ANSYS, where elongation is the element input parameter.
Besides, this structure is particularly valid for polycrystalline
alloys, as has been reported for similar materials [38]. In
the present examples (see Fig. 9), the model is composed of
only 9 parallel elements (Fig. 9(a)). Fig. 9 shows the model
predictions and the experimental data for CuAlBe (b) and
NiTi (c). Temperature changes are calculated using the CCC.
The model accuracy for global, partial, and internal cycles
is very good and has a reduced computation time. Also, a
simpler model (Fig. 3(a) and (c)) for NiTi slow cycling is
developed based on the bilinear theory (which is widely used
for NiTi [32]). However, the error is important, especially when
internal loops are present. Furthermore, the computational time
for the proposed parallel model is similar to the bilinear model.
V. Torra et al. / Engineering Structures 29 (2007) 18891902 1897
Fig. 9. Model with 9 parallel elements. (a) Sketch of the model construction.
(b) Experimental and simulated behavior of a CuAlBe sample. (c) Experimental
and simulated behavior of a NiTi sample.
5. Simulations of earthquake actions
A SMA damper may be simply a wire or rod of material
that, due to its hysteresis cycle, is able to convert mechanical
energy into heat. In principle, we may use a single SMA
rod with an appropriate thickness to endure the stress in the
structure. However, there are several reasons that suggest the
use of a set of thinner SMA wires instead. First, to be able
to use the material, it is necessary to prepare the sample with
a thermomechanical treatment (Section 3.2.1). This sample
preparation loses its efciency when the thickness of the sample
increases (the sample thickness imposes a temperature gradient
in the betatization process that prevents Ms homogenization).
Second, the grain complexity grows with the sample thickness.
This produces the increase of undesired material behavior in,
Fig. 10. SMA damper built from 12 CuAlBe wires of diameter 3.4 mm.
for instance, quenching which modies the hysteresis shape
(see, Fig. 3). For these reasons, we propose a damper structure
with N thin wires (diameter less than 5 mm) as Fig. 10
shows. Obviously, this conguration only allows the dampers
to work in traction. No compression work is achievable. To
overcome this limitation, the dampers always work in pairs on
a counteracted geometry.
The design and optimization of the dampers consist of
determining the best length and number of wires that compose
the damper. We are using CuAlBe wires with a diameter of
3.4 mmable to undergo a stress of 2.5 kNwith an ultimate strain
above 6% (4.5% without SMA creep), and NiTi wires with a
diameter of 2.46 mm with similar stress and strain maximum
levels. To ensure an appropriate response of the dampers, we
consider only strains up to 3.5%4%. This limitation has two
reasons: to reduce the accumulated creep and to provide a
safety margin. The calculation of the maximum strain and
stress for each damper requires the analysis of the structure
under the simulated effects of an earthquake. By studying the
free oscillation of the building, we obtain the free oscillation
amplitude, the stresses induced in the structure, and from the
steel properties the maximum deformation the structure can
undergo without plastic deformation. From the free oscillation
amplitude, we determine the length of the SMA wires in order
to not overcome the maximum expected strain in SMA with
stresses under plastic deformation. We calculate the number of
wires required to produce a total stress of around 10%30%
of the stresses induced in the structure by the event. Usually,
starting from these data, a trial and error iterative process is
required to fully optimize the dampers.
5.1. Structure description
Here, we focus on the single oor section with the garden
on the roof (Fig. 11 left depicts the beam structure and damper
placement). This structure is composed of three triple porticos.
The damper optimization process is done in two steps. First, we
analyze the triple portico with the highest load simplifying the
design process. Second, at the end this section, we check the
response of the whole garden with the dampers designed in the
previous step. The central portico of the garden structure has
the highest load. Fig. 11 right sketches the three-arch portico
with its load and characteristics. The portico height is 3 m. The
width of the arches is 2.35 m (lateral) and 6.80 m (central).
The pillars are built by HEB200 beams (central) and HEB140
(external). The horizontal girders are HEB240 for the central
arch and IPN160 for the lateral ones. In simulation, we use
A570 grade 50 steel with Young modulus 206 GPa, density
7850 kg/m
, yield stress of 344 MPa and damping coefcients
= 0.01 and = 0.001 according to ANSYS steel model. The
1898 V. Torra et al. / Engineering Structures 29 (2007) 18891902
Fig. 11. Left: Beam structure for the garden section with the placement of SMA dampers. Right: Schematic description of the garden central triple portico with H
(vertical) and I (horizontal) steel elements, the distributed loads and the SMA damper situation.
Fig. 12. (a) Acceleration pattern for El Centro earthquake (magnitude 7.1 in the Richter scale) and (b) oscillations induced in the portico (linear steel model)
without dampers.
total portico load is 46.5 Tm. The pairs of dampers are installed
in the diagonals of the lateral arches. Steel cables (with higher
stiffness than the dampers) are used to link the dampers with
the structure.
5.2. Analysis of the triple portico structure and damper design
Using the structural software ANSYS, in which our models
has been included via usermat routine, we analyze the
response of the portico to the action of an earthquake. Several
earthquakes have been used, but the most detailed analysis and
the optimization of the dampers has been performed using the
data from El Centro seism (1940) [18] with a magnitude of
7.1 in the Richter scale. In this simulation we use the rst 10 s
plus 3 s of no acceleration at the end. Fig. 12(a) shows the
acceleration pattern for this seism. It produces a maximum free
horizontal oscillation on the upper section of the portico with
amplitude of 7.3 cm (Fig. 12(b)). The reaction forces involved
are close to 650 kN, with a total input energy of 23.4 kJ.
The working temperature and the Ms parameter determine
the SMA response. It is possible to modify the Ms value
by changing the alloy composition. In these simulations we
consider the optimal working temperature for each alloy.
We have designed the dampers using CuAlBe wires with a
diameter of 3.4 mm. After some iterative analysis for the
used alloy, the best results are obtained using a set of 25
wires with a length of 0.6 m. The SMA mass per damper
is about 1.2 kg (100200 e/kg for extruded material) that
reduces the maximum oscillation amplitude to 3.1 cm (at
278 K). The damper supports a total force of 44.2 kN, and
the maximum stress and strain for each wire is 195 MPa
and 3.1%, respectively. They dissipate 66% of the energy
transmitted to the structure by the earthquake. Fig. 13 top,
shows the oscillation amplitudes (a
), the energies present in
the system (b
) (we depict the kinetic energy (E
), the energy
dissipated by the SMA dampers (W
), and the earthquake
input energy (W
) calculated according to [39,40]), and
the dampers hysteresis cycle (c
). Using NiTi wires with a
diameter of 2.46 mm, the optimum dampers are also built from
25 wires, each with a length of 60 cm (both wires produce
similar stresses). NiTi dampers reduce the maximum oscillation
V. Torra et al. / Engineering Structures 29 (2007) 18891902 1899
Fig. 13. Detailed response of the portico to El Centro using SMA dampers. Top: CuAlBe damper. Bottom: NiTi damper. The gure shows the oscillation amplitude
(a), the energy values involved in the event (b), and the dampers working cycles (c).
Fig. 14. Portico response with SMA dampers at different temperatures. Optimal temperature (T
= 5 and 20

C) and worst case simulation (T
+ 40

C) for
CuAlBe (a) and NiTi (b).
amplitude to 3.7 cm (at 293 K) and undergo a maximum
force of 49.4 kN. The wires composing the dampers support a
maximum stress and strain of 330 MPa and 3.4%. The damping
system dissipates 48% of the transmitted energy. Fig. 13 (a
, b
and c
) shows the system response with NiTi dampers. Without
any further consideration, both systems perform similarly.
Finally, it is important to evaluate the material behavior
under the worst conditions. To perform this simulation,
we increase the working temperature. The analysis of the
temperature increase must consider the external temperature
uctuations (summerwinter), the material self-heating, the
atomic diffusion effects, and a certain security margin
(according to Section 3.3). In fact, the dampers are placed in the
interior of the building, therefore the room temperature changes
remain clearly under 20 K. A rough approximation for the self-
heating temperature increase is 20 K. Therefore, we estimate
the total temperature increase in worst conditions to be 40 K.
Fig. 14 compares the damper response in optimal conditions
) and under worst case conditions (T
+40 K). The results
demonstrate that the dampers are robust and able to work even
in this extreme situation. The maximum oscillation is higher,
but the damping is still important (3.1 cm in optimal conditions
in front of 4.2 cm in the worst conditions for CuAlBe (a) and
3.7 and 4.5 cm for NiTi (b) against 7.3 cm without dampers).
In these simulations, it is also possible to observe that NiTi is
more sensitive to room temperature changes due to its higher
CCC. CuAlBe may undergo nearly 20 K more of a temperature
change than NiTi without difculties. This difference indicates
that, in the actual state of the art, CuAlBe dampers are a better
solution for light Civil Engineering structures.
Once the dampers are optimized for a particular earthquake,
it is necessary to check that they are valid for other events,
1900 V. Torra et al. / Engineering Structures 29 (2007) 18891902
Fig. 15. Simulations for three Japanese earthquakes with magnitudes 8.0 (2003), 6.2 (1997) and 6.0 (2005) on the Richter scale 1, 2 and 3 respectively. From top to
bottom: earthquake acceleration patterns (a
, a
, a
), portico free oscillation response (b
, b
, b
), portico response with CuAlBe dampers (c
, c
, c
) and portico
response with NiTi dampers (d
, d
, d
as each earthquake seismogram contains its own frequencies
that, combined with the building resonant frequencies, can
produce very different effects. For this reason, the response
to a single earthquake is not a conclusive probe of the
damping capabilities of SMAs. To probe whether the dampers
are useful in a wide range of situations, we have simulated
the triple portico response for three different recent Japanese
earthquakes registered in the stations KSRH03 (2003), KGS005
(1997) and KNGH10 (2005) of magnitudes 8.0, 6.2 and 6.0
respectively [41]. Fig. 15 presents the accelerograms for each
event, the free oscillation, and the damped oscillation with
the designed SMA dampers with CuAlBe and NiTi wires. In
all of the cases, the damped oscillations reduce the maximum
oscillation amplitude by a factor close to 2 even considering a
working temperature of 293 K for both alloys.
5.2.1. NiTi remark
In the present state of the art, one of the biggest drawbacks
of NiTi is associated to its high CCC value (over 6 MPa/K): the
room temperature plus self-heating (latent heat oscillations plus
hysteresis dissipation) near 1 Hz may overcome the maximum
plastic deformation inducing progressive SMA creep with loss
V. Torra et al. / Engineering Structures 29 (2007) 18891902 1901
Fig. 16. Garden response to El Centro with and without CuAlBe dampers. (a) Oscillation amplitude (x-axis) of the garden structure to El Centro earthquake.
Free oscillation and response with the designed CuAlBe dampers. (b) Energies involved in the event with dampers installed. (c) Damper response during the event.
of damping capabilities. For wires with diameter near or larger
than 2.5 mm this limitation is highly relevant. Until this
limitation is fully solved by appropriate improvements, the
NiTi in pseudoelastic state (with recentering capabilities) does
not seem to be a satisfactory alloy for earthquake damping
applications in Civil Engineering. Other diffusion effects are
described in [15].
5.3. Garden response to El Centro
Finally, we simulate a preliminary response of the whole
garden structure with the CuAlBe dampers to the rst 15 s
of El Centro accelerogram. The complete garden structure is
composed by the beam structure depicted in Fig. 11 (left) with
a reinforced concrete slab on top which increases the system
rigidity. The total structures load is 98.3 Tm. The concrete
slab distributes the loads among all three porticos reducing
the maximum displacement to 4.3 cm which differs from the
triple portico. Therefore, when considering the whole structure
it is necessary to rene the damper design to adapt them at
the structure. The nal design considers 12 dampers built from
22 CuAlBe wires and length 38 cm with a mass per damper
of 0.75 kg. Using these devices the maximum oscillation is
reduced to 2.4 cm (at 293 K). Fig. 16 presents the structure
oscillation on the x-axis with and without SMA dampers (a),
the energies acting in the system when the dampers are present
(b) indicating an energy dissipation of 56%and the stressstrain
cycle for the dampers (c) showing the working domain for these
dampers (stress 240 MPa and strain 3.7%).
The present house structure is designed according to
Barcelona seismic requirements which do not consider large
earthquakes. Using these dampers, the structure is able to resist
the actions of El Centro northsouth component. However,
the structure is too weak in the z-axis to apply these devices
appropriately. In this case it is necessary to reinforce the beam
structure before considering the SMA dampers.
6. Conclusions
SMA alloys in pseudoelastic state are suitable materials
for the development of passive solid state dampers in Civil
Engineering. Several years of observations of CuZnAl, CuAlBe
and, to some extent, NiTi suggest that the studied alloys
show similar behavior with different time scales. These
observations provide the required knowledge to guarantee the
material behavior for long time applications (several years).
The relevant physical phenomena for damping applications are
the summerwinter temperature actions, the atomic diffusion
effects (parent phase and coexistence) and the self-heating.
The evaluation of these phenomena provides the upper and
lower limits of the alloy changes. Using this information and
a thermomechanical model introduced in standard structural
simulation software (ANSYS), we can simulate SMA damper
behavior at any point of its lifetime.
Dampers with forces near 50 kN are built from several wires
of SMA (2025) with global cross sections around 300 mm
of CuAlBe or NiTi. The paper describes the designing process
for these dampers using ANSYS structural simulations. To
illustrate this process a damping system for a family house
is described. The system is able to reduce the maximum
oscillation amplitudes induced by high magnitude earthquakes
by approximately a factor 2 and dissipate around 50% of the
energy absorbed by the structure. In fact, similar results are
obtained with both materials. CuAlBe with an appropriate
thermomechanical treatment undergoes deformations near
4.5% without permanent deformation. However, at the present
state of the art, similar NiTi wires cannot avoid the SMA
creep. Unless appropriate improvements solve this limitation,
the NiTi in pseudoelastic state does not seem a reliable alloy
for earthquake damping applications in Civil Engineering.
This paper analyzes one of the applications of SMA: the
damping effects using the hysteresis cycle. The SMA properties
are studied according to the user needs in earthquake damping:
several years without any action and, later, near one or two
minutes with relevant accelerations and 100200 oscillations
of the structure.
Work realized in the frame of Spanish projects: MAT2002-
10423E, PCI2005-A7-0254 (MEC) and FPA2000-2635-E
(M.F.). Cooperation between CIRG (UPC) and ETS (Montreal,
Quebec, CA) and with CAB-IB (University of Cuyo,
Argentina) is supported by Quebec government and CNEA and,
in the past, by DURSI (Gen. Catalonia). V.T. acknowledges
support in NiTi analysis from Dr. A. Yawny and Eng. H. Soul.
Experimental support from Mr. Pablo Riquelme and creative
ideas in the development of hand controlled devices from Mr.
1902 V. Torra et al. / Engineering Structures 29 (2007) 18891902
Raul Stuke is also acknowledged. The collaboration of Mr. S.
Ruiz from TA Instruments for the calorimetric measurements in
NiTi is gratefully cknowledged.
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