The presence of long-period pulses in near-fault records can be considered as an important factor in causing damage due to the transmission of large amounts of energy to the structures in a very short time. Under such circumstances high-energy dissipation demands usually occur, which are likely to concentrate in the weakest parts of the structure. The maximum nonlinear response or col- lapse often happens at the onset of directivity pulse and fling, and this time is not predicted by the natural structural vibration periods. Nonlinear response leading to collapse may in most cases occur only during one large amplitude pulse of displacement. From the study of the response of both linear and nonlinear SDOF systems, the effects of these distinctive long-period pulses have been assessed by means of: (i) synthetic parameters directly derived from the strong ground motion records, and (ii) elastic and inelastic spectra of both conventional and energy-based seismic demand parameters. SDOF systems have first been subjected to records obtained during recent earthquakes in near-fault areas in forward directivity conditions. The results indicate that long duration pulses strongly affect the inelastic response, with very high energy and displacement demands which may be several times larger than the limit values specified by the majority of codes. In addition, from the recognition of the fundamental importance of velocity and energy-based parameters in the characterization of near- fault signals, idealized pulses equivalent to near-fault signals have been defined on account of such parameters. Equivalent pulses are capable of representing the salient observed features of the response to near-fault recorded ground motions
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