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Metal Bellows Dampers

World leaders in the field of shock & vibration with over 60 years of industry experience. 

Metal Bellows Dampers Provide Unique Damping Solutions

Metal bellows dampers were developed during the 1980’s for NASA and used on platforms based in outer space. Conventional sliding surfaces that were sealed acceptably on earth proved unacceptable for spacecraft use.

Taylor Devices Damper Sleeve

Metal bellows dampers are unique hermetically sealed dampers that were originally developed for use on platforms based cause catastrophic failure to critical space missions. The reason was simply that even the tiniest amount fluid leakage past conventional seal turns into a dense fog in a vacuum, contaminating optics and electronic systems.

Applications of Metal Bellows Dampers

Today, these same dampers have been successfully adapted for use in structures for protection against wind and seismic events. Additionally, metal bellows dampers are ideal for applications requiring damping at very low displacements, including human-induced vibration for bridges and buildings.

The Case of the Millennium Bridge

The Millennium Bridge or “Wobbly Bridge” is an interesting story on how human induced motion caused the bridge to sway causing unsafe conditions for pedestrians. The bridge opened to the public on June 10, 2000 and measures 320 meters long and crosses the River Thames. On opening day, pedestrians walked across the bridge and, to their surprise, it began to sway. While some bridge sway is normal, the swaying got larger and larger until it was deemed unsafe. Luckily there were no serious injuries, but the bridge was immediately closed. 

Millennium Bridge

Although the bridge was designed to withstand wind and weight, the engineering design did not factor in human behavior.

Learn more about this bridge and how Taylor Devices solved the issue by installing our metal bellows dampers.

Metal Bellows Dampers in Buildings

Metal bellows dampers can be used in tall buildings that experience continuous swaying due to wind activity. Unlike dampers that are used for seismic activity, metal bellows dampers can provide damping at very small displacements, have near-frictionless performance, and can withstand the nearly constant cycling, from high winds. One example application of this incredible product is located at the top of the 250 West 55th Street building in Manhattan.

Another example of our metal bellow dampers in building applications is located in mega-bracing in the 181 Freemont building in San Francisco, CA.  Similar to the building in Manhattan, our dampers not only needed to reduce wind oscillations but also absorb vibrations from major seismic activity. Instead of stiffening the building, the building’s engineering team decided on the opposite approach, which was to reduce stiffness to allow flexibility, and then add dampers to reduce the seismic demands.

Benefits of Metal Bellows Dampers

  • Infinite Life – The only damper design in the world that is designed for infinite life. Parts are stressed below the material fatigue endurance limit ensuring that the dampers will survive billions of cycles.
  • Virtually Zero Friction – There is no source of friction typical of standard elastomeric seals.
  • Effective damping at extremely small amplitudes.
  • Extremely High Fidelity response to shock and vibration over a frequency band of 0-500 Hz and amplitudes as low as +/- 0.001 inches (+/- 0.00254mm) or less. 
  • High series stiffness for high damping effectiveness
  • Various damping functions are achieved based on a customer requirement
  • Taylor metal bellows dampers are designed and tested in output force ratings up to 450 KIP or more and strokes up to +/- 20 inches or more. 
  • No Maintenance over the life of the structure or dynamic system.
  • Absolutely ZERO Leakage due to hermetically sealed construction.
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