Effects of uncertainties on seismic behaviour of optimum designed braced steel frames

  • Hajirasouliha, Iman (Department of Civil & Structural Engineering, The University of Sheffield) ;
  • Pilakoutas, Kypros (Department of Civil & Structural Engineering, The University of Sheffield) ;
  • Mohammadi, Reza K. (Civil Engineering Department, K.N. Toosi University of Technology)
  • Received : 2015.08.12
  • Accepted : 2015.11.03
  • Published : 2016.02.10


Concentrically braced steel frames (CBFs) can be optimised during the seismic design process by using lateral loading distributions derived from the concept of uniform damage distribution. However, it is not known how such structures are affected by uncertainties. This study aims to quantify and manage the effects of structural and ground-motion uncertainty on the seismic performance of optimum and conventionally designed CBFs. Extensive nonlinear dynamic analyses are performed on 5, 10 and 15-storey frames to investigate the effects of storey shear-strength and damping ratio uncertainties by using the Monte Carlo simulation method. For typical uncertainties in conventional steel frames, optimum design frames always exhibit considerably less inter-storey drift and cumulative damage compared to frames designed based on IBC-2012. However, it is noted that optimum structures are in general more sensitive to the random variation of storey shear-strength. It is shown that up to 50% variation in damping ratio does not affect the seismic performance of the optimum design frames compared to their code-based counterparts. Finally, the results indicate that the ground-motion uncertainty can be efficiently managed by optimizing CBFs based on the average of a set of synthetic earthquakes representing a design spectrum. Compared to code-based design structures, CBFs designed with the proposed average patterns exhibit up to 54% less maximum inter-storey drift and 73% less cumulative damage under design earthquakes. It is concluded that the optimisation procedure presented is reliable and should improve the seismic performance of CBFs.


Monte Carlo simulation;optimum seismic design;concentrically braced frame;seismic performance;non-linear behaviour


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