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Performance-Based Seismic Demand Assessment of Concentrically Braced Steel Frame Buildings


The special concentrically steel braced frame (SCBF) system is one of the most effective struc-tural systems to resist lateral forces. Because of its effectiveness and straightforward design, many SCBFs are incorporated in structures throughout the world. However, the highly nonlin-ear behavior associated with buckling and non-ductile fracture of braces reduces the ability of the system to dissipate energy resulting in undesirable modes of behavior. While many studies have investigated the cyclic behavior of individual braces or the behavior of subassemblies, the dynamic demands on the structural system under various seismic hazard levels needs additional study for performance-based earthquake engineering.

Archetype buildings of SCBFs and buckling restrained braced frames (BRBFs) were analyzed using the computer program OpenSees (the Open System for Earthquake Engineering Simulation) to improve the understanding of the seismic behavior of braced frame systems, and to assess seismic demands for performance-based design. Numerical models were calibrated using test data determined from testing of conventional buckling braces, buckling restrained braces, and the braced frame specimens. In addition, fiber-based OpenSees models were constructed and compared with results of a sophisticated finite-element model that realistically captured local buckling and local fracture of structural elements. Because the OpenSees models are reasona-bly accurate and efficient, they were chosen to perform set of parametric computer simulations.

The seismic demands of the system and structural elements were computed and interpreted for 3-, 6-, and 16-story SCBFs and BRBFs under various hazard levels. The analysis results show large seismic demands for the 3-story SCBF, which may result in unexpected damage of struc-tural and non-structural elements. The median expected probability of a brace buckling at one or more levels in a 3-story SCBF is more than 50% for an earthquake having a 50% probability of exceedance in 50 years (the service-level event). The possible need to replace braces fol-lowing such frequent events due to brace buckling should be considered in performance-based earthquake engineering assessments. In addition, brace fracture in SCBFs is likely for an earthquake having a 2% probability of exceedance in 50 years (the MCE-level event). Analy-ses show that in general, BRBF models had larger drift demands and residual drifts compared to SCBF systems, because of the BRBF's longer fundamental period. However, the tendency to form a weak story in BRBFs is less than that in SCBFs.

Evaluation of seismic demand parameters were performed for 2-, 3-, 6-, 12-, and 16-story SCBFs and BRBFs, which demonstrated that short-period braced frame systems, especially SCBFs, had higher probability of collapse than longer-period braced frame systems. Substantially improved response was observed by lowering the response reduction factor of the 2-story SCBF building; this reduced the collapse risk at the hazard level of 2% probability of exceedance in 50 years. For long-period (taller) structures, although the collapse probability was lower compared to the short-period structures, weak story behavior was commonly observed in conventionally designed SCBF. A design parameter related to the ratios of story shear demand and capacity under a pushover analysis is proposed to modify member sizes to reduce weak story behavior efficiently. This is demonstrated for a 16-story SCBF building.

Regarding local deformation and force demands, simple methods to estimate out-of-plane buck-ling deformation of braces and column axial force demands are proposed. The investigation of system performance and member behavior provides seismic demands to more accurately assess the socio-economic losses of SCBFs and BRBFs for performance-based earthquake engineering.

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