This paper explores the capabilities of a superelastic, tensegrity-inspired bracing system acting as a seismic protection device. The metamaterial-type response of the proposed structure, which is related to its geometry more than to the nature of the employed materials, yields a passive control device with optimized structural response. It operates as a lightweight mechanical amplifier for longitudinal displacements. The enhanced energy dissipation and the re-centering capacity of the proposed tensegrity-SMA braces are demonstrated through experimental tests, and the seismic analysis of a benchmark structure. The effective performance of the proposed bracing in reducing the seismic damage of the served building paves the way to the design of novel seismic energy dissipation devices that combine tensegity and superelasticity concepts.

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Filipe Santos, Gianmario Benzoni, Fernando Fraternali