This paper presents a recent research breakthrough on the development of a novel adaptive seismic isolation system as the quest for seismic protection for civil structures, utilizing the field-dependent property of the magnetorheological elastomer (MRE). A highly-adjustable MRE base isolator was developed as the key element to form smart seismic isolation system. The novel isolator contains unique laminated structure of steel and MRE layers, which enable its large-scale civil engineering applications, and a solenoid to provide sufficient and uniform magnetic field for energizing the field-dependent property of MR elastomers. With the controllable shear modulus/damping of the MR elastomer, the developed adaptive base isolator possesses a controllable lateral stiffness while maintaining adequate vertical loading capacity. Experimental results show that the prototypical MRE base isolator provides amazing increase of lateral stiffness up to 1630%. Such range of increase of the controllable stiffness of the base isolator makes it highly practical for developing new adaptive base isolation system utilizing either semi-active or smart passive controls. To facilitate the structural control development using the adaptive MRE base isolator, an analytical model was developed to stimulate its behaviors. Comparison between the analytical model and experimental data proves the effectiveness of such model in reproducing the behavior of MRE base isolator, including the observed strain stiffening effect.

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