Kinematic soil-structure interaction effects from building and free-field seismic arrays in Japan
Ground motions at the foundation levels of structures differ from those in the free-field as a result of inertial and kinematic interaction effects. Inertial interaction effects tend to produce narrow-banded ground motion modification near the fundamental period of the soil-structure system, whereas kinematic effects are relatively broad-banded and concentrated at high frequencies. Kinematic interaction effects can be predicted using relatively costly finite element analyses with incoherent input or simplified models. The simplified models are semi-empirical in nature and derived from California data. These simplified models are the basis for seismic design guidelines used in the western United States, such as ASCE-41 and a pending report published by NIST. We compile some available data from building and ground instrumentation arrays in Japan for comparison to these two sets of models. We demonstrate that the model predictions for the sites under consideration are very similar to each other for modest foundation sizes (equivalent radii under about 50 m). However, the data show that both approaches overestimate the transfer function ordinates relative to those from Japanese data. This indicates that the semi-empirical models currently in use are conservative relative to these data sets. We speculate as to possible causes for the observed discrepancies.