Semi-Active Magnetorheological Seismic Isolators

Tech ID: 24859 / UC Case 2013-923-0

Brief Description

Novel semi-active magnetorheological seismic isolators that may be used in buildings and bridges to minimize structural damage during an earthquake.

Full Description

Researchers at the University of California, Irvine have developed a novel semi-active magnetorheological seismic isolator. This new isolator is composed of magnetorheological nanocomposites embedded between two steel plates. The magnetorheological nanocomposites incorporate multi-walled carbon nanotubes which enhances the performance of the isolator. Two steel yokes support two coils which may be controlled to generate a magnetic field to change the stiffness of the magnetorheological nanocomposites. During an earthquake, sensors activate the semi-active isolators to adjust their stiffness to isolate the building or bridge in which they are embedded.

Suggested uses

These novel isolators may be used to reduce seismic damage in buildings and/or bridges.


Unlike passive isolators, semi-active isolators have shown to use less energy and may be powered by batteries. Traditional semi-active isolators utilize fluids and they take up more space.

Patent Status

Country Type Number Dated Case
United States Of America Issued Patent 9,581,214 02/28/2017 2013-923

State Of Development

A prototype has been made and its dynamic mechanical behavior has been characterized.


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Other Information


Civil engineering, Seismic, Isolators, Buildings, Bridges

Categorized As

  • Institute for Innovation Logo
  • Institute for Innovation Logo

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