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Seismic response analysis of linear and nonlinear secondary structures

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posted on 05.07.2018, 08:10 by Stavros Kasinos
Understanding the complex dynamics that underpin the response of structures in the occurrence of earthquakes is of paramount importance in ensuring community resilience. The operational continuity of structures is influenced by the performance of nonstructural components, also known as secondary structures. Inherent vulnerability characteristics, nonlinearities and uncertainties in their properties or in the excitation pose challenges that render their response determination as a non-straightforward task. This dissertation settles in the context of mathematical modelling and response quantification of seismically driven secondary systems. The case of bilinear hysteretic, rigid-plastic and free-standing rocking oscillators is first considered, as a representative class of secondary systems of distinct behaviour excited at a single point in the primary structure. The equations governing their full dynamic interaction with linear primary oscillators are derived with the purpose of assessing the appropriateness of simplified analysis methods where the secondary-primary feedback action is not accounted for. Analyses carried out in presence of pulse-type excitation have shown that the cascade approximation can be considered satisfactory for bilinear systems provided the secondary-primary mass ratio is adequately low and the system does not approach resonance. For the case of sliding and rocking systems, much lighter secondary systems need to be considered if the cascade analysis is to be adopted, with the validity of the approximation dictated by the selection of the input parameters. Based on the premise that decoupling is permitted, new analytical solutions are derived for the pulse driven nonlinear oscillators considered, conveniently expressing the seismic response as a function of the input parameters and the relative effects are quantified. An efficient numerical scheme for a general-type of excitation is also presented and is used in conjunction with an existing nonstationary stochastic far-field ground motion model to determine the seismic response spectra for the secondary oscillators at given site and earthquake characteristics. Prompted by the presence of uncertainty in the primary structure, and in line with the classical modal analysis, a novel approach for directly characterising uncertainty in the modal shapes, frequencies and damping ratios of the primary structure is proposed. A procedure is then presented for the identification of the model parameters and demonstrated with an application to linear steel frames with uncertain semi-rigid connections. It is shown that the proposed approach reduces the number of the uncertain input parameters and the size of the dynamic problem, and is thus particularly appealing for the stochastic assessment of existing structural systems, where partial modal information is available e.g. through operational modal analysis testing. Through a numerical example, the relative effect of stochasticity in a bi-directional seismic input is found to have a more prominent role on the nonlinear response of secondary oscillators when compared to the uncertainty in the primary structure. Further extending the analyses to the case of multi-attached linear secondary systems driven by deterministic seismic excitation, a convenient variant of the component-mode synthesis method is presented, whereby the primary-secondary dynamic interaction is accounted for through the modes of vibration of the two components. The problem of selecting the vibrational modes to be retained in analysis is then addressed for the case of secondary structures, which may possess numerous low frequency modes with negligible mass, and a modal correction method is adopted in view of the application for seismic analysis. The influence of various approaches to build the viscous damping matrix of the primary-secondary assembly is also investigated, and a novel technique based on modal damping superposition is proposed. Numerical applications are demonstrated through a piping secondary system multi-connected on a primary frame exhibiting various irregularities in plan and elevation, as well as a multi-connected flexible secondary system. Overall, this PhD thesis delivers new insights into the determination and understanding of the response of seismically driven secondary structures. The research is deemed to be of academic and professional engineering interest spanning several areas including seismic engineering, extreme events, structural health monitoring, risk mitigation and reliability analysis.


Loughborough University, School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering


© Stavros Kasinos

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.