Investigation of stable and unstable fiber-reinforced elastomeric isolators

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

Proceedings, Annual Conference - Canadian Society for Civil Engineering



First Page



Base isolation, Elastomeric isolators, Fiber-reinforced, Seismic isolation, Stable unbonded

Last Page



Fiber-reinforced elastomeric isolators (FREIs) are a potentially low-cost alternative to conventional steel-reinforced elastomeric isolators. FREIs can exhibit a non-linear horizontal force-displacement relationship characterized by a softening and stiffening phase, similar to other adaptive isolation devices such as the triple friction pendulum. This non-linear relationship is a consequence of unique deformations that occur during horizontal displacement denoted as rollover, which causes softening, and full rollover, which causes stiffening. The magnitude of the softening due to rollover is primarily governed by the width-to-total height aspect ratio of the FREE If the aspect ratio is low, below about 2.5, the isolator may be susceptible to horizontal instability where the tangential stiffness becomes negative before increasing due to full rollover. Design codes prevent the use of an isolation system susceptible to horizontal instability within the design displacement. In this paper, experimental testing is used to calibrate a numerical model of a base isolated structure using horizontally unstable and stable FREIs. The performance of the structure is evaluated based on peak displacement of the isolation layer and peak acceleration of the base isolated structure. For the isolators considered, it is shown that the horizontal instability does not have a negative impact on the performance of the structure. It is postulated that some level of horizontal instability may be allowed in the design of unbonded FREIs.



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