Pounding of structures modelled as non-linear impacts of two oscillators

Kam Tim Chau, X. X. Wei

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

151 Citations (Scopus)


A new formulation is proposed to model pounding between two adjacent structures, with natural periods T1and T2and damping ratio ζ1and ζ2under harmonic earthquake excitation, as non-linear Hertzian impact between two single-degree-of-freedom oscillators. For the case of rigid impacts, a special case of our analytical solution has been given by Davis ('Pounding of buildings modelled by an impact oscillator' Earthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics, 1992; 21:253-274) for an oscillator pounding on a stationary barrier. Our analytical predictions for rigid impacts agree qualitatively with our numerical simulations for non-rigid impacts. When the difference in natural periods between the two oscillators increases, the impact velocity also increases drastically. The impact velocity spectrum is, however, relatively insensitive to the standoff distance. The maximum relative impact velocity of the coupled system can occur at an excitation period Tn*which is either between those of the two oscillators or less than both of them, depending on the ratio T1/T2and ζ1/ζ2. Although the pounding force between two oscillators has been primarily modelled by the Hertz contact law, parametric studies show that the maximum relative impact velocity is not very sensitive to changes in the contact parameters.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)633-651
Number of pages19
JournalEarthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2001


  • Adjacent structures
  • Earthquakes
  • Impact velocity
  • Non-linear impact
  • Oscillators
  • Pounding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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