Influence of the Gravity System on the Seismic Performance of Special Steel Moment Frames

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Virginia Tech


This study investigates the influence of the gravity load resisting system on the collapse performance of Special Steel Moment Frames (SMFs). The influence was quantified using the FEMA P-695 methodology. The buildings used for this study were a 2-, 4- and 8-story SMFs taken from the ATC76-1 project where their collapse performance was already evaluated without the gravity system. The main work of this dissertation has been divided in two parts. The first part studies the influence of the gravity system when it is incorporated explicitly as part of the lateral resisting system. Aspects of the gravity frame that were investigated include the contribution of stiffness and strength of beam to column connections, and the location of splices in the gravity columns. Moreover, this research investigates the potential for the development of inelastic deformations in the gravity columns, and the effect of such deformations on structural response. The results show that gravity connections and gravity column's continuity profoundly affect the computed response and collapse probability. The inelastic behavior in gravity columns has a less important effect but should be included in the analysis.

The second part of the investigation looks more in depth at the role of the gravity columns on the collapse performance of SMFs. Using the 2-, 4- and 8-story SMFs, the gravity columns are incorporated using the approach where all the gravity columns are lumped into one elastic, pinned at the base and continuous element. The approach is first validated by checking different aspects such as: strength of gravity connections to induce yielding into gravity columns, difference between the explicit and lumping column approach, and required gravity column's splices to provide continuity. The stiffness of the element representing the gravity columns was varied in order to find the influence of the gravity columns. At the end of the study it was found that they have a significant influence on the collapse performance of SMFs, especially on taller structures like the 8-story model. Moreover it was concluded that an adequate stiffness of the gravity columns could be found by performing nonlinear static pushover analysis.



Gravity System, Partially Restrained Connections, Special Moment Frames, Gravity Columns Continuity, Splices, FEMA P-695, Collapse Performance