The influence of structural details, geotechnical factors and environs on the seismic response of framed structures.

  • Patrick Madden

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Science


    Seismic events around the globe directly affect all ranges of structures, from complex and expensive ‘skyscrapers’ to simple frame structures, the latter making up a higher proportion of the number of structures affected as they are a much more common type of structure. The impact of a seismic event can be devastating, especially if adequate predictions of their impact and imposed structural response are not made during the design stage of the structure. Knowing what response to expect allows the engineer to design the structure to survive an event and protect the occupants. The structural response to a seismic event is very complex and can be affected by a wide range of structural, geotechnical and environ parameters. While larger, expensive structures make use of expensive, time consuming, finite element analytical procedures to determine their response the cheaper, simpler, frame structures have to make do with existing, simplified, spectral method predictions.
    This research firstly involves finite element analysis of simple frame structures, considering different structural and geotechnical parameters which may influence the seismic response, namely the stiffness of the structural joints, the geometry of the structure (influencing the individual structural element flexibility) and the foundation conditions (fixed base or shallow foundations with soil structure interaction). A range of frames, of varying geometry, are considered which mobilise different amounts of inter-storey drift, local rotation and global rotation response. The influence of soil structure interaction (SSI) and frame rigidity (i.e. the properties of the joints) on the response behaviour is investigated. The finite element database is then used to validate improved methods for predicting the spectral response parameters, specifically the natural period and damping of equivalent single degree of freedom (SDOF) systems, which include the effects of frame rigidity, geometry and SSI.
    Dynamic centrifuge testing is also carried out in order to further validate the improved spectral model for the case of real soil with shear dependant stiffness. The physical model testing is also extended to consider how environs, such as other structures in close proximity, influence the response of a structure.
    Date of Award2014
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorJonathan Knappett (Supervisor)


    • Civil Engineering
    • Seismic
    • Finite Element Analysis
    • Centrifuge modelling
    • Structural Analysis
    • Geotechnical Engineering
    • Structural Engineering

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