Assessing the effect of inherent nonlinearities in the analysis and design of a low-rise base isolated steel building

  • Varnavaa, Varnavas ;
  • Komodromos, Petros
  • Received : 2012.11.20
  • Accepted : 2013.07.15
  • Published : 2013.11.25


Seismic isolation is an effective method for the protection of buildings and their contents during strong earthquakes. This research work aims to assess the appropriateness of the linear and nonlinear models that can be used in the analysis of typical low-rise base isolated steel buildings, taking into account the inherent nonlinearities of the isolation system as well as the potential nonlinearities of the superstructure in case of strong ground motions. The accuracy of the linearization of the isolator properties according to Eurocode 8 is evaluated comparatively with the corresponding response that can be obtained through the nonlinear hysteretic Bouc-Wen constitutive model. The suitability of the linearized model in the determination of the size of the required seismic gap is assessed, under various earthquake intensities, considering relevant methods that are provided by building codes. Furthermore, the validity of the common assumption of elastic behavior for the superstructure is explored and the alteration of the structural response due to the inelastic deformations of the superstructure as a consequence of potential collision to the restraining moat wall is studied. The usage of a nonlinear model for the isolation system is found to be necessary in order to achieve a sufficiently accurate assessment of the structural response and a reliable estimation of the required width of the provided seismic gap. Moreover, the simulations reveal that the superstructure's inelasticity should be taken into account, especially if the response of the structure under high magnitude earthquakes is investigated. The consideration of the inelasticity of the superstructure is also recommended in studies of structural collision of seismically isolated structures to the surrounding moat wall, since it affects the response.


seismic isolation;base isolation;rubber bearings;Bouc-Wen model;seismic gap;nonlinear analysis;superstructure's inelasticity;collision to moat wall


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