The effectiveness of the various control algorithms for semi-active structural control systems proposed in the literature is highly questionable when dealing with earthquake actions, which never reach a steady state. From this perspective, the paper summarizes the results of an experimental activity aimed to compare the effectiveness of four different semi-active control algorithms on a structural mock up representative of a class of structural systems particularly prone to seismic actions. The controlled structure is a near full scale 2-story steel frame, equipped with two semi-active bracing systems including two magnetorheological dampers designed and manufactured in Europe. A set of earthquake records has been applied at the base of the structure, by utilizing a shaking table facility. Experimental results are compared in terms of displacements, absolute accelerations and energy dissipation capability. A further analysis on the percentage incidence of undesired and/or unpredictable operations corresponding to each algorithm gives an insight on some factors affecting the reliability and, in turn, the real effectiveness of semi-active structural control systems.
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