Experimental and Computational Investigation of a Self-Centering Beam Moment Frame (SCB-MF)

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Virginia Tech

In the past two decades, there have been significant advances in the development of self-centering (SC) seismic force resisting systems. However, examples of SC systems used in practice are limited due to unusual field construction practices, high initial cost premiums and deformation incompatibility with the gravity framing. A self-centering beam moment frame (SCB-MF) has been developed that virtually eliminates residual drifts and concentrates the majority of structural damage in replaceable fuse elements. The SCB consists of a I-shaped steel beam augmented with a restoring force mechanism attached to the bottom flange and can be shop fabricated. Additionally, the SCB has been designed to eliminate the deformation incompatibility associated with the self-centering mechanism.

The SCB-MF system is investigated and developed through analytical, computational, and experimental means. The first phase of the work involves the development of the SCB concepts and the experimental program on five two-thirds scale SCB specimens. Key parameters were varied to investigate their effect on global system hysteretic response and their effect on system components. These large-scale experiments validated the performance of the system, allowed the investigation of detailing and construction methods, provided information on the behavior of the individual components of the system. The experimental results also provided data to confirm and calibrate computational models that can capable of capturing the salient features of the SCB-MF response on global and component level.

As a part of the second phase, a set of archetype buildings was designed using the self-centering beam moment frame (SCB-MF) to conduct a non-linear response history study. The study was conducted on a set of 9 archetype buildings. Four, twelve and twenty story frames, each with three levels of self-centering ratios representing partial and fully self-centering systems, were subjected to 44 ground motions scaled to two hazard levels. This study evaluated the performance of SCB-MFs in multi-story structures and investigated the probabilities of reaching limit states for earthquake events with varying recurrence period.

The experimental and computational studies described in this dissertation demonstrate that the SCB-MF for steel-framed buildings can satisfy the performance goals of virtually eliminating residual drift and concentrating structural damage in replaceable fuses even during large earthquakes.

Self-centering, seismic design, structural fuses, post-tensioning, large-scale testing, nonlinear response history analysis