The damping properties of the viscous tuned mass damper are characterized by dynamic amplification analysis as well as identification of the locus of the complex natural frequencies. Optimal damping is identified by a combined analysis of the dynamic amplification of the motion of the structural mass as well as the relative motion of the damper mass. The resulting optimal damper parameter is about 15% higher than the classic value, and results in improved properties for the motion of the damper mass. The free vibration properties are characterized by analyzing the locus of the natural frequencies in the complex plane. It is demonstrated that for optimal frequency tuning the damping ratio of both vibration modes are equal and approximately half the damping ratio of the applied damper, when the damping is below a critical value corresponding to a bifurcation point. This limiting value corresponds to maximum modal damping and serves as an upper limit for damping to be applied in practice.

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