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Current Winner
2011 Innovation Challenge Award

Michael Montgomery

Reducing Wind and Earthquake Vibrations in High Rises

Michael Montgomery
Michael Montgomery

Highrise buildings are becoming increasingly tall and slender. When they sway in the wind, people inside can feel the motion and in extreme cases, motion sickness can occur. 

Dr. Michael Montgomery addressed these challenges while working on his PhD at the University of Toronto, under the supervision of Professor Constantin Christopoulos. The Wind-Earthquake Coupling Damper is an innovative technology for reducing wind and earthquake vibrations in highrise buildings.

The dampers absorb vibration and reduce the effect of wind vibrations so people on the top floors don’t feel them. If an extreme earthquake occurs, damage is safely concentrated in specific portions of the damper. Other portions of the structure are protected, allowing for easy and rapid inspection, repair or replacement of the damper.

The damper replaces existing structural elements, meaning that the technology does not occupy any additional space, an important consideration for developers and designers. It also eliminates the need to increase wall thickness to address vibrations, a common approach that leads to higher costs.

Dr. Montgomery is currently working with some of the world's leading structural engineers to incorporate the damper technology into a number of the tallest and most challenging structures currently under design.