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Newsletter "SEI NEWS" 2014

Home > Company Information > SEI WORLD > Back number > Vol.444

[Newsletter "SEI WORLD" Vol.444]

TRC damper™, a seismic vibration control system for wooden buildings

We do not know where or when an earthquake will occur. Before an earthquake, however, we can implement preventive measures against various risks. Here we introduce the TRC damper™ that can alleviate seismic shocks to a building and preserve your family’s peace of mind by protecting your house.

■Product data
Start of sales June 2009
Production base Japan

What is the TRC damper™?

The TRC damper™ (TRC is the acronym for Tokai Response Control) is an earthquake countermeasure system that alleviates seismic shocks.

When the damper expands and contracts in response to seismic shocks, special viscoelastic rubber installed in the damper drastically mitigates vibrations of buildings by converting seismic energy to thermal energy. The special viscoelastic rubber is an application of technology that Tokai Rubber Industries, Ltd. developed for automobile rubber vibration isolators.

Special Viscoelastic Rubber

Special viscoelastic rubber does not bounce because it instantly transforms kinetic energy into heat energy.


What are the excellent features of the TRC damper™?

The TRC damper™ exerts an excellent vibration control effect and prevents the overall or partial collapse of buildings, resulting in possible reduction in damages and restoration costs. Fifty percent of vibration can be absorbed by the damper at a maximum in responding to an earthquake measuring an upper 6 on the Japanese intensity scale.
By reinforcing the aseismic strength of buildings, the risk of collapse can be avoided (earthquake-resistant design), but the aseismic strength will diminish over time, due to the accumulation of damage from each earthquake. On the other hand, the vibration control design using the TRC damper™ is highly effective against repeated earthquakes such as aftershocks due to the slow accumulation of damage to buildings. In addition, the materials used in the TRC damper™ undergo minimal performance degradation and deterioration over time, making it possible to deliver stable performance for a long period without regular maintenance.

Since the TRC damper™ can be applied in existing houses under renovation as well as new ones, it is widely available to customers who live in wooden houses (using a framework construction method).

■Interview with engineers in charge

Takeshi Nomura Industrial Products and Materials Business Unit Tokai Rubber Industries, Ltd.

What were the difficulties in developing TRC damper™?

The special viscoelastic rubber used for the damper is a rubber material that is not subject to performance degradation due to changes in temperature. Generally, rubber materials become hard at low ambient temperatures and soft at high temperatures. To minimize these changes, special viscoelastic rubber used for the TRC damper™ was developed by capitalizing on compound technology for polymers. While several chemicals are compounded to make a rubber material, we evaluated more than 1,000 different compound samples during the development.

Requirements concerning design of the damper included ease of installation in existing wooden houses and a construction method that sufficiently demonstrated its performance. We took three years to reach commercialization, designing a versatile joint adaptable to various configurations of wooden houses and conducting excitation tests.

What features of this product are well regarded by customers?

The TRC damper™ has acquired certifications from public agencies such as the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (for new buildings) and the Japan Building Disaster Prevention Association (for renovated buildings), providing a sense of security to customers. It has earned a high reputation among many construction companies for its good construction performance. It can be applied in existing buildings for renovation as well as new ones. We simulate how the TRC damper™ alleviates seismic shocks in individual houses so that our customers can adopt the TRC damper™ upon being convinced of its vibration control effect.

On October 1, 2014, Tokai Rubber Industries, Ltd. will change its name to Sumitomo Riko Company Limited.

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* TRC damper is a registered trademark of Tokai Rubber Industries, Ltd.

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