Passive control introducing energy absorbing devices into the structure has received considerable attention in recent years. Unfortunately the constitutive law of viscous fluid dampers is highly nonlinear, and even supposing that the structure behaves linearly, the whole system has inherent nonlinear properties. Usually the analysis is performed by a stochastic linearization technique (SLT) determining a linear system equivalent to the nonlinear one, in a statistical sense. In this paper the effect of the non-Gaussianity of the response due to the inherent nonlinearity of the damper device will be studied in detail via the Path Integral Solution (PIS) method. A systematic study is conducted showing that for a very wide range of parameters the SLT gives satisfactory results in terms of variance of displacement and velocity but not in terms of joint Probability Density Function (PDF). It has also been shown that at steady state the two processes, displacement and velocity, may be considered as independent ones.
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