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Energy based seismic performance assessment of reinforced concrete columns

Acun, Bora
Severe seismic events in urban regions during the last two decades revealed that the structures constructed before the development of modern seismic codes are the most vulnerable to earthquakes. Sub-standard reinforced concrete buildings constitute an important part of this highly vulnerable urban building stock. There is urgent need for the development and improvement of methods for seismic performance assessment of existing reinforced concrete structures. As an alternative to current conventional force-based assessment methods, a performance evaluation procedure for structural members, mainly reinforced concrete columns is proposed in this study, by using an energy-based approach combined with the low cycle fatigue concept. An energy-based hysteresis model is further introduced for representing the inelastic response of column members under severe seismic excitations. The shape of the hysteresis loops are controlled by the dissipated cumulative energy whereas the ultimate strength is governed by the low cycle fatigue behavior. These two basic characteristics are obtained experimentally from full scale specimens tested under constant and variable amplitude displacement cycles. The first phase of the experimental program presented in the study constitutes of testing sub-standard non-conforming column specimens. The second phase of testing was conducted on standard, code compliant reinforced concrete columns. A total number of 13 specimens were tested. The behavior of these specimens was observed individually and comparatively according to the performance based objectives. The results obtained from the experiments were employed for developing relations between the energy dissipation capacity of specimens, the specimen properties as well as the imposed displacement history. Moreover, the measured rotation capacities at the plastic regions are evaluated comparatively with the limits proposed by modern displacement-based seismic design and assessment provisions.