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Friction PendulumTM - Seismic Isolation Bearings

The Need

Recent large earthquakes in Turkey, Taiwan, and Japan have wreaked terrible destruction in highly urbanized areas. Preventing such tragic loss of life and damage to society's infrastructure is the aim of Friction PendulumTM seismic isolation bearings, a technology developed with the support of the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. Friction PendulumTM bearings provide an effective, practical and economical means of protecting structures from the devastating effects of earthquakes.

The Technology

Friction PendulumTM bearings are seismic isolators that are installed between a structure and its foundation to protect the supported structure from earthquake damage. With the use of Friction PendulumTM bearings, it is possible to construct buildings, bridges and industrial facilities to elastically resist the strongest earthquake ground motions without damage at a lower construction cost than is possible with any other approach. When installed at the foundation, Friction PendulumTM bearings support the loads of the structure and, during an earthquake, allow the structure to move with gentle pendulum motion. Since earthquake induced displacements occur primarily in the bearings, lateral loads and shaking movements transmitted to the structure are greatly reduced.

The Benefits

The benefits of Friction PendulumTM seismic isolation include:


Friction PendulumTM bearings provide seismic protection for some of the world's largest and most critical buildings, bridges, and industrial facilities, comprising more than $3 billion worth of construction. The bearings have saved over $200 million in construction costs compared to conventional strength designs to achieve equivalent seismic performance.


Points of Contact


  1. News Release, 2000 Nova Award Nominations
  2. NSF Engineering Online News http://www.eng.nsf.gov/engnews/2000/Earthquake_Protection/earthquake_protection.htm
  3. CERF News Release http://www.cerf.org/about/press/9_04a_98.htm

Disclaimer Statement

Neither the Construction Industry Institute nor Purdue University in any way endorses this technology or represents that the information presented can be relied upon without further investigation.


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