A Dual Answer to Seismic Stress (Available only in the Structural Engineering Special Issue)

by P. V. Banavalkar, P.E., Executive Vice President; CBM Engineers, Inc., Houston,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1997, Vol. 67, Issue 4, Pg. 2A-6A

Document Type: Feature article


Are two systems better than one? When it comes to high-rise seismic design post-Northridge, the answer may be yes, based on studies conducted by CBM Engineers, Inc., Houston. The aftermath of the 1994 Northridge earthquake came as quite a shock to many structural engineers. Inspections revealed that many of the special moment-resisting frames that were supposed to stand up to seismic stresses had, in fact, cracked severely at their beam-column connections, endangering structures and lives. Some attempts to prepare for the next earthquake are focusing on building stronger connections, but at CBM Engineers, Inc., we have been concentrating on designing better structural frames. In areas of high seismicity, structural framing systems must reliably and predictably absorb and dissipate the energy imparted by ground motions. Typically, framing systems are designed using two sets of criteria. The first is based on codes such as the Uniform Building Code, UBC, and recommended provisions such as the National Earthquake Reduction Hazard Program (NEHRP), which prescribe ductility-based systems.

Subject Headings: Seismic tests | Frames | Earthquakes | Structural systems | Seismic design | System reliability | Structural reliability

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