Performance-Based Plastic Design (PBPD) method has been recently developed to achieve enhanced performance of earthquake resistant structures. The design concept uses pre-selected target drift and yield mechanism as performance criteria. The design base shear for selected hazard level is determined by equating the work needed to push the structure monotonically up to the target drift to the corresponding energy demand of an equivalent SDOF oscillator. This study presents development of the PBPD approach as applied to reinforced concrete special moment frame (RC SMF) structures. RC structures present special challenge because of their complex and degrading (“pinched”) hysteretic behavior. In order to account for the degrading hysteretic behavior the FEMA 440 C2 factor approach was used in the process of determining the design base shear. Four baseline RC SMF (4, 8, 12 and 20-story) as used in the FEMA P695 were selected for this study. Those frames were redesigned by the PBPD approach. The baseline frames and the PBPD frames were subjected to extensive inelastic pushover and time-history analyses. The PBPD frames showed much improved response meeting all desired performance objectives, including the intended yield mechanisms and the target drifts. On the contrary, the baseline frames experienced large story drifts due to flexural yielding of the columns. The work-energy equation to determine design base shear can also be used to estimate seismic demands, called the energy spectrum method. In this approach the skeleton force-displacement (capacity) curve of the structure is converted into energy-displacement plot (Ec) which is superimposed over the corresponding energy demand plot (Ed) for the specified hazard level to determine the expected peak displacement demands. In summary, this study shows that the PBPD approach can be successfully applied to RC moment frame structures as well, and that the responses of the example moment frames were much improved over those of the corresponding baseline frames. In addition, the drift demands of all study frames as computed by the energy spectrum method were in excellent agreement with those obtained from detailed inelastic dynamic analyses
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