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Improving Seismic Collapse Risk Assessments of Steel Moment Frame Buildings


Buyco, John Kenneth (2018) Improving Seismic Collapse Risk Assessments of Steel Moment Frame Buildings. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/2SFH-WP06.


It is important to be able to accurately assess seismic risk so that vulnerabilities can be prioritized for retrofit, emergency response procedures can be properly informed, and insurance rates can be sustainably priced to manage risk. To assess the risk of a building (or class of buildings) collapsing in a seismic event, procedures exist for creating one or more mathematical models of the structure of interest and performing nonlinear time history analysis with a large suite of input ground motions to calculate the building's seismic fragility and collapse risk. In this dissertation, three aspects of these procedures for assessing seismic collapse risk are investigated for the purpose of improving their accuracy.

It is common to use spectral acceleration with a damping ratio of 5% as a ground motion intensity measure (IM) for assessing collapse fragility. In this dissertation, the use of 70%-damped spectral acceleration as an IM is investigated, with a focus on evaluating its sufficiency and efficiency. Incremental dynamic analysis (IDA) is performed for 22 steel moment frame (SMF) models with 50 biaxial ground motion records to formally evaluate the performance of 70%-damped spectral acceleration as an IM for highly nonlinear response and collapse. It is found that 70%-damped spectral acceleration is much more efficient than 5%-damped spectral acceleration and much more sufficient with respect to epsilon for all considered levels of highly nonlinear response. Its efficiency and sufficiency compares also compares well with more advanced IMs such as average spectral acceleration.

When selecting input ground motions for nonlinear time history analysis, most engineers select ground motion records from the NGA-West2 database, which are processed with high-pass filters to remove long-period noise. In this dissertation, the extent to which these filters remove actual ground motion that is relevant to nonlinear time history analysis is evaluated. 52 near-source ground motion records from large-magnitude events are considered. Some records are processed by applying high-pass filters and others are processed by record-specific tilt corrections. Raw and NGA-West2 records are also considered. IDA is performed for 9-, 20-, and 55-story steel moment frame models with these processed records to assess the effects of ground motion processing on the calculated collapse capacity. It is found that if the cutoff period (Tc) is at least 40 seconds, then applying a high-pass filter does not have more than a negligible effect on collapse capacity for any of the considered records or building models. For shorter Tc (e.g. 10 or 15 seconds), it is found that the filters sometimes have a large effect on calculated collapse capacity, in some cases by over 50%, even if Tc is much larger than the building’s fundamental period. Of the considered ground motions, simply using the raw, uncorrected records usually yields more accurate results than using ground motions that have been processed with Tc less than or equal to 20 seconds.

For an existing building with unknown design plans, one might perform a collapse risk assessment using an archetype model for which the specific member sizes are assumed based on the relevant design code and building site. In this dissertation, the sensitivity of seismic collapse risk estimates to design criteria and procedures are evaluated for six 9-story and four 20-story post-Northridge SMFs. These SMFs are designed for downtown Los Angeles using different design procedures according to ASCE 7-05 and ASCE 7-10. Seismic risk analysis is performed using the results of IDA with 44 ground motion records and the results are compared to those of pre-Northridge models. It is found that the collapse risk of 9-story SMFs designed according to performance-based design vary by 3x, owing to differences in GMPEs used to generate site-specific response spectra. There is generally less variation in the collapse risk estimates of 20-story post-Northridge SMFs when compared to 9-story post-Northridge SMFs because wind drift limits control the design of many members of the 20-story SMFs. Differences in collapse risk between pre- and post-Northridge SMFs are found to be at least 4x and 8x for the 9- and 20-story models, respectively. Furthermore, in response to four strong ground motion records from large-magnitude events, some of the 9-story and all of the 20-story pre-Northridge SMFs experience collapse and most of the post-Northridge SMFs experience significant damage (MIDR > 0.03).

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Earthquake Engineering; Engineering Seismology
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Civil Engineering
Minor Option:Computational Science and Engineering
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Heaton, Thomas H.
Thesis Committee:
  • Asimaki, Domniki (chair)
  • Hall, John F.
  • Kohler, Monica D.
  • Heaton, Thomas H.
Defense Date:23 May 2018
Non-Caltech Author Email:kennybuyco (AT)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSF Graduate Research FellowshipDGE-1144469
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:06012018-015306089
Persistent URL:
Buyco, John Kenneth0000-0002-8182-7119
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:10994
Deposited By: John Buyco
Deposited On:04 Jun 2018 19:05
Last Modified:28 Oct 2021 22:48

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