, Volume 54, Issue 1–2, pp 333–349 | Cite as

A magneto-rheological elastomer vibration isolator for lightweight structures

  • R. Brancati
  • G. Di Massa
  • S. PaganoEmail author
  • S. Santini


Magneto-rheological elastomers (MRE), consisting of elastomeric matrix containing ferromagnetic particles, are a kind of smart material, whose mechanical properties are controllable via applied magnetic fields. In this paper, the possibility of adopting these materials to realize vibration isolators for lightweight structures is evaluated. Such isolators must be stiff enough in the vertical direction, to support the structure weight, while they must have a low horizontal stiffness to isolate ground vibrations originated by different sources. To meet these requirements, an isolation system, constituted by MRE pads and ball transfer units (BTU), is proposed. The BTUs support the structure weight allowing it to move in any horizontal direction, while the MRE pads provide a controllable horizontal restoring force. Therefore, the pad stiffness may be chosen considering only the horizontal isolation characteristics, regardless of the vertical ones. The paper describes the isolator layout, the criteria followed to make up a set of MRE specimens and the experimental set-up adopted to characterize them. The dynamic behaviour of the isolated structure and the isolator performances are described by means of numerical simulations. The analytical description of the isolator restoring force was deduced adopting a generalized Maxwell model in parallel with a Bouc–Wen element whose coefficients were identified from the experimental test results.


Magneto-rheological elastomers Smart materials Semi-active isolators Iron powders 



This research was funded by University of Naples Federico II under the project D.R. N. 408. The authors are grateful to Marco Di Vaio, Giuseppe Iovino and Gennaro Stingo for their collaboration during the setup construction and the execution of laboratory tests.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. 1.
    Kelly JM (1986) A seismic base isolation: review and bibliography. Soil Dyn Earthq Eng 5(4):202–216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Calabrese A, Serino G, Strano S, Terzo M (2015) Experimental investigation of a low-cost elastomeric anti-seismic device using recycled rubber. Meccanica 50(9):2201–2218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Balaji PS, Rahman ME, Moussa L, Lau HH (2015) Wire rope isolators for vibration isolation of equipment and structures: a review. IOP Conf Ser Mater Sci Eng 78:012001CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    De Michele M, Di Massa G, Frisella G, Lippolis S, Pagano S, Pisani G, Strano S (2017) A smart system for shock and vibration isolation of sensitive electronic devices on-board a vehicle. In: Advances in Italian mechanism science. Springer, pp 503–511. ISBN: 978-3-319-48375-7Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Franklin YC, Hongping J, Kangyu L (2008) Smart structures: innovative systems for seismic response control. CRC Press, Boca RatonGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Yao GZ, Yap FF, Chen G, Li WH, Yeo SH (2002) MR damper and its application for semi-active control of vehicle suspension system. Mechatronics 12(7):963–973CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Dykedag SJ, Spencer BF Jr, Sain MK, Carlson JD (1998) An experimental study of MR dampers for seismic protection. Smart Mater Struct 7:693ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Chen B, Li C, Wilson B, Huang Y (2016) Fractional modeling and analysis of coupled MR damping system. IEEE/CAA J Autom Sin 3(3):288–294MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Kallio M (2005) The elastic and damping properties of magnetorheological elastomers. Thesis for the degree of Doctor of Technology, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. ISBN: 9513864472Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Li Y, Li J, Li W, Du H (2014) A state-of-the art review on magnetorheological elastomer devices. Smart Mater Struct 23(12):123001CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Gundermann T, Cremer P, Löwen H, Menzel AM, Odenbach S (2017) Statistical analysis of magnetically soft particles in magnetorheological elastomers. Smart Mater Struct 26(4):045012ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Sapouna K, Xiong YP, Shenoi RA (2017) Dynamic mechanical properties of isotropic/anisotropic silicon magnetorheological elastomer composites. Smart Mater Struct 26(11):115010ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Li Y, Li J (2017) On rate-dependent mechanical model for adaptive magnetorheological elastomer base isolator. Smart Mater Struct 26(4):045001ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Gent AN (2012) Engineering with rubber—how to design rubber components. C.H. Verlag, MunichCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Girish M, Pranesh M (2009) Sliding isolation systems: state-of-the-art review. J Mech Civ Eng 2278(1684):30–35Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Caged Ball Cross LM Guide—Catalog n.319E.
  17. 17.
    Di Massa G, Pagano S, Rocca E, Strano S (2013) Sensitive equipment on WRS-BTU isolators. Meccanica 48(7):1777–1790CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Ni YQ, Ko JM, Wong CW (1998) Identification of non-linear hysteretic isolators from periodic vibration tests. J Sound Vib 217(4):737–756ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Ismail M, Ikhouane F, Rodellar J (2009) The hysteresis Bouc–Wen model, a survey. Arch Comput Methods Eng 16:161–188CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Ikhouane F, Rodellar J (2005) On the hysteretic Bouc–Wen model. Part I: forced limit cycle characterization. Nonlinear Dyn 42:63–78CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Yu Y, Li Y, Li J (2015) Parameter identification and sensitivity analysis of an improved LuGre friction model for magnetorheological elastomer base isolator. Meccanica 50:2691–2707CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Brancati R, Di Massa G, Pagano S (2017) A vibration isolator based on magneto-rheological elastomer. In: Advances in Italian mechanism science—proceedings of the first international conference of IFToMM Italy (IFIT2016) Vicenza (Italy), 1–2 Dec 2016. Springer, pp 483–490. ISBN 978-3-319-48375-7Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Di Massa G, Pagano S, Strano S, Timpone F (2013) A comparison between linear and nonlinear modelling of a wire rope seismic isolator. Int Rev Model Simul 6(4):1307–1313Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Di Matteo A, Spanos PD, Pirrotta A (2018) Approximate survival probability determination of hysteretic systems with fractional derivative elements. Probab Eng Mech 54:138–146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Graham KS (2012) Mechanical vibrations: theory and applications. Cengage Learning, BostonGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Konstantinidis D, Kelly JM (2014) Advances in low-cost seismic isolation with rubber. In: Tenth U.S. national conference on earthquake engineering frontiers of earthquake engineering, Anchorage, Alaska, pp 21–25Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Eem SH, Jung HJ, Koo JH (2013) Seismic performance evaluation of an MR elastomer-based smart base isolation system using real-time hybrid simulation. Smart Mater Struct 22(5):055003ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Pagano S, Russo M, Strano S, Terzo M (2014) Seismic isolator test rig control using high-fidelity non-linear dynamic system modelling. Meccanica 49(1):169–179CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Li J, Li Y, Li W, Samali B (2013) Development of adaptive seismic isolators for ultimate seismic protection of civil structures. In: Sensors and smart structures technologies for civil, mechanical, and aerospace systems, San Diego, CA, USA, SPIE, pp 1–12Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Behrooz M, Wang X, Gordaninejad F (2014) Modeling of a new semi-active/passive magnetorheological elastomer isolator. Smart Mater Struct 23(4):045013ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Università di Napoli Federico IINaplesItaly

Personalised recommendations