In this paper we examine the use of dynamic friction within a bolted structure to improve damping properties of the structure. The structure considered for this paper consists of two steel beam-columns bolted together allowing dynamic friction to occur at the interface. This paper presents an analysis of the behaviour of the structure and the effect of friction on its dynamics. It also presents an analysis of the energy dissipation in the structure by means of friction and the optimization of the bolt tension in order to dissipate the maximum vibration energy. We define analytical expressions for the vibration behaviour before and after slip occurs as well as the condition at which the slip-stick transition occurs. An experiment, in which the measurements of the bolt tension, the slip within the structure and the bending velocity are made, is used to validate the model. The theoretical analysis gave very close agreement with the experimental results and the effective damping of the structure was increased by a factor of approximately 10 through the use of dynamic friction. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.