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Response and Failure of Structures Under Stationary Random Excitation


Adu, Randolph Ademola (1971) Response and Failure of Structures Under Stationary Random Excitation. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/6304-3X27.


The response of simple structural systems to stationary random excitation is considered under two criteria of failure. When failure is specified as the crossing of a maximum tolerable threshold by the response, the reliability of a structure is commonly measured by means of response spectra. These give the expected maximum value of the response parameter for a given excitation level. The statistical variations in these spectra are obtained here for viscously damped linear and elastoplastic single-degree of freedom systems by electronic analog simulation. The results obtained are compared with approximate statistical analyses; for example, the threshold crossing statistics of narrow-band oscillators. It is concluded that such methods give satisfactory, but conservative, estimates of the mean spectral values. It is significant that all the spectra obtained showed a very wide distribution about the mean. This was also true of the Fourier amplitude spectrum of the excita­tion.

For response that are so large that structures actually collapse, the linear model was replaced by an elastoplastic system, and the effect of gravity on the collapse time was considered. Experimental simulation showed that the structural response in this case is essentially that of a linear oscillator with yielding occurring at intermittent intervals. Gravity acts to increasingly bias this yielding in one direction, eventually causing instability in the system. Collapse of the system was sensitive to the distribution of peaks in the excitation and it was found that the wide dispersion in the collapse time can be reasonably represented by a Gamma distribution function.

An analytic method for estimating the mean collapse time was derived by considering the energy distribution of the excitation and its effect on the yielding of the structure. The response process was thus modelled by that of an equivalent linear oscillator whose baseline is biased by the yielding in the structure. It was concluded that this procedure gives a good estimate of the failure time for excitations strong enough to cause failure in less than 20 seconds.

A two-degree of freedom elastoplastic hysteretic system with gravity was also simulated. In a certain sense, the qualitative behavior is similar to that of the single-degree of freedom system. It was thus possible to estimate the failure time of the structure from that of a single-degree of freedom system once the transmission of vibration is accounted for by considering a linear two-degree of freedom system.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Civil Engineering
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Civil Engineering
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Unknown, Unknown
Group:Earthquake Engineering Research Laboratory
Thesis Committee:
  • Housner, George W. (chair)
  • De Prima, Charles R.
  • Hudson, Donald E.
  • Jennings, Paul C.
  • Vreeland, Thad
Defense Date:21 May 1971
Other Numbering System:
Other Numbering System NameOther Numbering System ID
EERL Report71-03
Funding AgencyGrant Number
American UniversitiesUNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:11302017-155936522
Persistent URL:
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription ItemTechnical Report EERL 71-03 in CaltechAUTHORS
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:10573
Deposited By: Benjamin Perez
Deposited On:01 Dec 2017 17:34
Last Modified:14 Jun 2023 23:08

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