Abstract A finite-element model is developed to investigate the energy dissipation characteristics of active piezoelectric damping composites (APDC). The APDC under consideration consists of piezoelectric rods that are obliquely embedded in a viscoelastic matrix to provide active control of its shear and compression damping characteristics. Discrete APDC patches may be bonded to or embedded within structural systems to control their vibrations. The APDC, with their inherent active and passive control capabilities, provide effective means of enhancing the energy dissipation mechanism of the viscoelastic layer and hence the overall dynamic behavior of the system can be improved. The effect of the inclination angle of the piezoelectric rods and the control gains on the energy-dissipation characteristics of APDC is presented. The results obtained indicate that effectively high loss factors may be attained by proper selection of the design parameters of the APDC patches, which makes the APDC suitable for controlling structural vibrations and noise.