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Journal of Constructional Steel Research 125 (2016) 142163

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Journal of Constructional Steel Research

Plastic analysis-based seismic design method to control the weak storey

behaviour of concentrically braced steel frames
D.B. Merczel a,b, J.-M. Aribert a, H. Somja a, M. Hjiaj a,
LGCGM/Structural Engineering Research Group, Institut National des Sciences Appliques de Rennes, 20 Av. des Buttes de Cosmes 35708, Rennes Cedex 7, France
Department of Structural Mechanics, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Megyetem rkp. 3-9, Budapest 1111, Hungary

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: This article focuses on the likelihood of the weak storey behaviour and the weak storey collapse of diagonally con-
Received 6 May 2015 centrically braced frames designed according to Eurocode 8 provisions. The emphasis is primarily put on the na-
Received in revised form 1 May 2016 ture and development of the weak storey behaviour in order to designate the effects that shall be taken into
Accepted 15 May 2016
account in an effective design procedure. In a second stage, the focus is on developing supplementary conditions
Available online 22 June 2016
to Eurocode 8 based on plastic analysis that can enhance the designs by preventing the occurrence of weak
Concentrically braced steel frame 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Seismic design
Eurocode 8
Weak story mechanism
Plasticity-based design method

1. Introduction Conversely, CBFs are susceptible to exhibit weak storey collapse by

developing a localised storey mechanism as it is shown in Fig. 1b. In
Steel concentrically braced frame (hereinafter CBF) systems are eco- the weak storey phenomenon, the plastic deformations and drifts are
nomic forms of providing lateral resistance to high-rise buildings. localised on one or a limited number of storeys. Evidently, the dissipa-
Owing to the geometry, the lateral forces are resisted by truss action tive and drift capacity of the weak storeys is by far inferior to the capac-
resulting mainly axial effects in the participating members. The truss be- ity of the whole CBF. Furthermore, the weak storey behaviour
haviour incorporates large stiffness, which limits the lateral drifts and incorporates a signicant bending of the columns, which may result in
low-frequency vibrations in the braced buildings, and therefore pro- plastic hinges at the top and the bottom of the bent columns. The
vides occupancy comfort and impedes damages in the non-structural weak storey behaviour is unfavourable as it results in low seismic per-
parts. Therefore, CBFs may be favoured over moment resisting frames formance and may even lead to early collapse; therefore, it needs to
in non-seismic design states or for low return period seismic actions. be prevented.
However, in the case of severe earthquakes, CBFs are known to have a In the following sections, the corresponding parts of EN 1998-1[4]
bad performance [13]. (Eurocode 8 or EC8) will be summarised, various CBFs designed accord-
According to the principles of capacity design, structures are to be ing to this standard will be presented, and their performance evaluation
provided with large plastic ductility capacity as this allows the re- will be carried out via incremental dynamic analysis (IDA). A deeper in-
duction of the design horizontal forces. Although the steel material sight into the observed weak storey behaviour will provide the basis for
may assure considerable structural ductility, it is also necessary to the determination of the most inuential effects on the weak storey be-
distribute the inelastic deformations along the height of the building. haviour. Finally, new design criteria, based on plastic analysis, will be
In design, the expected behaviour of a CBF corresponds to the global dened, which will be utilised to enhance the performance of the CBFs
plastic collapse mechanism depicted in Fig. 1a. In this case, the com- investigated in previous sections.
pression braces are buckled, and all the tensile ones are undergoing
plastic deformation. This plastic mechanism provides the largest dis- 2. Eurocode 8 design of CBFs
sipation and lateral drift capacity as all the storeys of the building
equally contribute. In the design of building structures, Eurocode 8 provides two basic
concepts for the seismic analysis. Earthquake-resistant buildings can ei-
ther have a low-dissipative or a dissipative behaviour. In a dissipative
Corresponding author. structure, controlled inelastic deformations are expected to dissipate
E-mail address: (M. Hjiaj). signicant energy and damp the response of the structure, and in the
0143-974X/ 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
D.B. Merczel et al. / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 125 (2016) 142163 143

a) b)
Fig. 1. Geometry model of collapse mechanism. (a) Global mechanism, (b) local mechanism.

meantime to provide adequate ductility to meet displacement de- of the dissipative members due to strain hardening. The total
mands. The behaviour factor, q, that accounts for this effect is 4 for overstrength, 1.1ov , is a way to account for the resistance reserve
CBFs, which is the lower boundary of high ductility class (DCH) struc- of the diagonal members. In principle, it ensures that the resistance of
tures. The seismic action is divided by the behaviour factor and the the non-dissipative members is adequate until the plastic yield of the
members are designed to resist only this reduced-intensity design diagonals.
action. In addition, Eurocode 8 denes limitations to the relative slender-
In Eurocode 8, the criteria for the verication of dissipative struc- ness:
tures follow the capacity design philosophy. For the design analysis,
only a reduced-intensity seismic action is considered, as a substantial 2:0 6
part of the seismic input energy is expected to be dissipated by plastic
deformations. Plastic deformations are strictly required to occur in dis- and for X-braced congurations also:
sipative members that are to be designed with sufcient ductility,
whereas the yield or collapse of non-dissipative zones is to be evaded. 1:3 7
To ensure the elastic behaviour of non-dissipative zones, their seismic
design is required with a sufcient overstrength. In CBFs, the braces The upper bound dened in Eq. (6) is imposed to prevent the rapid
are meant to be the dissipative members. Therefore, CBFs are designed degradation of the resistance of the braces. Furthermore, this limits the
so that the yield of the diagonals takes place before the failure of the col- plastic out-of-plane deformation of gusset plates, which are prone to
umns, the beams and the connections. low-cycle fatigue fracture. The lower bound Eq. (7) assures the suf-
For the sake of homogeneous dissipative behaviour, a simultaneous cient exibility of the diagonals in compression.
yield of the braces on every storey has to be ensured. Eurocode 8 aims to With its requirements, Eurocode 8 assumes and attempts to pro-
promote this by a condition given for the overstrength factors, i, mote the development of the global plastic mechanism. However,
realised on the different storeys, making them closely uniform. It Eurocode 8 criteria are based on the elastic response of the structure
needs to be veried that the maximum overstrength does not differ subjected to the reduced-intensity seismic action via the q-factor.
from the minimum by more than 25%. These may not be well adapted to control the inelastic response, partic-
ularly if the CBF exhibits a weak storey behaviour. That is to say, in an
max elastic analysis, due to the truss action of the bracing, only negligible
1:25 1
bending can be expected. On the contrary, the columns in a weak storey
response are subjected to signicant bending, so the requirement im-
posed on the axial resistance of the columns, Eq. (5), may not be satis-
mini 2 factory to provide adequate column sections. In a weak storey
response, the axial forces of the braces may also be different from the
max maxi 3 ones obtained by elastic analysis; therefore, the uniformity condition
of the storey overstrength factors, Eq. (1), may be violated.
Npl;Rd;i The drawbacks related to the Eurocode 8 design of CBF have been
i 4 addressed before by various authors. Elghazouli [1] deals with the
N br;Ed;i
main behavioural issues involved in the seismic design of typical
For the design of columns and beams, Eurocode 8 requires the full- forms of concentrically braced frames. Tremblay [5] also gives a com-
ment of the following condition: prehensive description of the seismic behaviour of CBFs and suggests
novel additional bracing congurations that may favour the global
NRd MEd NEd;G 1:1  ov   NEd;E 5 mechanism. Martinelli et al. [6] apply the tension only concept of EC8
while proposing a new strategy based on the denition of a set of static
where NRd(MEd) is the axial resistance in accordance with Eurocode 3, equivalent seismic forces, computed from response spectrum analysis.
taking into consideration the interaction with the design bending effect Having observed the relevance of the resistance reserve provided by
MEd. NEd,G and NEd,E are the axial forces due to the non-seismic and the the columns, Elghazouli [7] proposes that the ratio of the sum of the
seismic actions, respectively. The material overstrength factor, ov, ac- horizontal stiffness provided by the continuous columns and the axial
counts for the random variability of the material properties. Its recom- stiffness of the brace on every oor shall be kept sufciently high to pre-
mended value is 1.25, but it may be varied in National Annexes. The vent the localisation of the ductility demand on a weak storey. In their
amplication coefcient 1.1 represents the increase of the yield stress articles, Longo et al. [8,9] and Brandonisio et al. [2] highlight certain
144 D.B. Merczel et al. / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 125 (2016) 142163

drawbacks of Eurocode 8 and propose modications. In the referenced to the augmented gravity and seismic actions. In these cases, the letter
articles, it is pointed out that dening the overstrength factor, , as M is indicated in the designation.
the minimum of the storey overstrength to penalise the seismic internal For the elastic analysis, 3D nite element models have been built,
forces of non-dissipative members does not satisfy the principles of ca- and the dimensioning of the sections has been done in compliance
pacity design sufciently. Also, it is emphasised that the non- with the corresponding parts of Eurocode 1, 3, and 8. The structural
dimensional slenderness limits of the braces may result in unfeasible self-weight is 6.77 kN/m2 distributed load. It is assumed that the build-
or vastly oversized designs. Understanding that the brace buckling and ing is of B occupation category; therefore, the live loading is 3 kN/m2
deterioration, both in terms of resistance and dissipation, are account- and the 2 combination factor is 0.3; therefore, 30% of the live loading
able for the development of the weak storey behaviour led to the ap- is concurrent with the seismic action. The earthquake acceleration re-
pearance of alternative solutions that exhibit superior response. One sponse spectrum is considered to be the type 1 in EC8 assuming B
innovative bracing member that has dynamically spread throughout type soil conditions. The design ground acceleration is taken to be
the world in building practice and also studied by many researchers 0.25g, where g is the acceleration of gravity. The behaviour factor, q, is
[10,11] is the buckling restrained brace or commonly BRB. Another al- 4 in agreement with the structure-specic regulations of the standard.
ternative of enhancing seismic braced frame behaviour is the applica- The seismic design has been carried out with the modal response spec-
tion of self-centering braced frames [12]. These braced frames are trum analysis method, considering a sufcient number of modes to ex-
xed to the base in a way that the uplift of the column base beyond a ceed 90% mass participation in the lateral directions. To account for
predened overturning moment is enabled. buckling of the braces in compression, one brace in a pair has been re-
moved. For the combination of the modal responses, the complete qua-
dratic combination method has been used. All the members were
3. Design of various braced frames designed to respect the corresponding parts of both Eurocode 3 (EN
1993.1.1, in particular clause 6.3.3) and 8. In Table 2, the cross sections
In order to evaluate the performance of CBFs that comply with the of the internal and external (faade) columns and the square hollow
requirements of Eurocode 8, a series of concentrically braced steel section (SHS) braces, as well as the slenderness of the braces and the
frame structures were designed. The designs, their features, and funda- storey overstrength results, are presented for selected, representative
mental periods are presented in Table 1. There are 4, 6, 8, and 10 storey- examples. The steel grade of every member is S235.
high buildings denoted by CBF4, CBF6, CBF8, and CBF10 respectively.
The buildings are identical in plan. They are built on an orthogonal 4. Model for nonlinear dynamic analysis
grid that consists of the same four 6-m bays in both plan directions.
The storey height is 3 m in every building and on every storey. In the To observe the actual behaviour and to evaluate the performance of
buildings where the lateral resistance in both directions is provided by the CBF designs, nonlinear dynamic analyses have been carried out. For
braces on the four external frames, see Fig. 2a; only the columns that the IDA, seven articial accelerograms were selected to respect the min-
are connected to the diagonals participate in the lateral resistance. imum requirement of Eurocode 8 (clause so that the average
These are continuous throughout the whole height of the building but of the results shall be considered. Selecting articial accelerograms re-
pinned at the base. All the other column splices are hinged and located duces the uncertainty of the seismic action and is therefore less
at the slab levels. Although such detailing does not reect current prac- favourable than real motion (natural accelerograms) to detect the struc-
tice, it has been adopted to better demonstrate the efciency of the tural susceptibility to develop a weak storey mechanism. Large discrep-
RSBD method developed in Section 7. These structural types are denot- ancies between accelerograms increase the probability to observe a
ed by the number 1 following the storey number, e.g., CBF41 (4-storey singular structural behaviour such as weak storey mechanism. On the
CBF with bracing in both directions). In the buildings where the lateral other hand, the limited uncertainty of the seismic action allows to eval-
resistance is provided by moment resisting frames in one direction uate the efciency of the adopted design method and to make better
and by bracing in the other, see Fig. 2b; all the columns are continuous. comparison of design approaches.
These buildings are denoted by the number 2 after the storey number, The length of each excitation is 20 s and the spectra of the ground
e.g., CBF42. At the end of the designation, the acronym EC8 refers to motions were tted to the design spectrum, see Fig. 3.
the design procedure. The used accelerograms are benchmarks in the RFCS OPUS research
Both the gravity and the lateral loads are transmitted to the steel program [13]. The acceleration records were scaled by multiplying the
frame members by a concrete slab. However, for the steel I-section peak ground acceleration (PGA) by a scale factor ranging from 0.1 up
beams placed under the slab as ribs, the design has been carried out as- to 2.0. The analysis was conducted with FinelG [14] nonlinear nite ele-
suming that there is no composite behaviour. ment software. The model consists of 2D bre beam elements with a co-
The change of the mass on some oors in some CBFs has also been rotational formulation that can adequately describe large displace-
considered as special cases. In CBF81, on the upper 4 oors a 20%, and ments. Due to the planar modelling, the parallel columns were
in CBF61, on the upper 3 oors, a 50% weight increase is assumed. The projected on the plane of the braced frame on the facade and connected
dimensioning according to Eurocode has been carried out with regard at the oor levels by horizontal links, see Fig. 4.
The members were divided into multiple beam elements to account
for the large deformations (of the braces primarily). The beam elements
Table 1 have 3 nodes and 7 degrees of freedom. The total number of DOFs cor-
Various CBF designs
responds to two rotational at end nodes and ve translational, see
Building Features Period (T1 s) Fig. 5. As usual for bre element, the section forces at the element
CBF41-EC8 4-storey CBF in both directions 1.13 nodes are computed using both a longitudinal and transversal integra-
CBF42-EC8 4-storey MRFCBF 1.19 tion scheme. The integration along the beam length is performed
CBF61-EC8 6-storey CBF in both directions 1.65 using 3 integration points. For each longitudinal integration point, a
CBF62-EC8 6-storey MRFCBF 1.61
transversal integration scheme is performed. On the webs of the thin-
CBF81-EC8 8-storey CBF in both directions 2.10
CBF82-EC8 8-storey MRFCBF 2.04 walled section, 5 integration points are located and the anges are di-
CBF101-EC8 10-storey CBF in both directions 2.54 vided by 7 points along the plate length and 3 along the thickness. In
CBF102-EC8 10-storey MRFCBF 2.41 the llets additional integration points are considered.
CBF61M-EC8 6-storey CBF, 50% mass irregularity, upper half 1.78 The cyclic nonlinear response of the material was modelled by the
CBF81M-EC8 8-storey CBF, 20% mass irregularity, upper half 2.17
application of the GiuffrMenegottoPinto cyclic law [15] (with
D.B. Merczel et al. / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 125 (2016) 142163 145

a) b)
Fig. 2. Plan and structural model of CBF buildings. (a) CBF in both plan directions (type 1). (b) MRFCBF building (type 2).

parameters E0 = 210 GPa, Eh = 2.1 GPa, fy = 235 MPa, = 0.3, R1 = 20, implemented by Rayleigh damping [17], the two parameters of which
A1 = 18.5, A2 = 0.15, see Appendix A). The masses and simultaneous have been determined assuming 4% damping ratio [18] and considering
loads were lumped into the intersections of the beams and columns. the rst and second mode of the structural model.
For the diagonals, their self-weight and an initial sinusoidal imperfec- In order to validate the appropriateness of the nite element models,
tion with an amplitude of L/250 (in accordance with EC3 [16]) were the results of an experimental test, carried out by Black et al. [19],
both considered. The nonlinear time history analysis has been carried has been adopted and modelled with FinelG. A bar with a
out by the Newmark direct integration method (with parameters 4 in. 4 in. 0.25 in. square hollow section and 10 feet length is loaded
= 0.25, = 0.5). The equivalent structural damping has been with an alternating and monotonically growing-amplitude imposed

Table 2
Details of the selected CBF designs

st. int.col. ext.col. brace st. int.col. ext.col. brace

CBF41-EC8 4 HEA 160 HEA 140 100 4 1.83 1.05 CBF61-EC8 6 HEA 160 HEA 160 90 5 2.08 1.00
3 HEB 180 HEA 200 100 6.3 1.87 0.99 5 HEB 180 HEA 180 100 6 1.89 0.98
2 HEB 220 HEB 200 100 8 1.91 0.97 4 HEB 220 HEB 200 100 8 1.95 1.04
1 HEB 260 HEB 240 100 10 1.95 0.99 3 HEB 240 HEB 220 100 10 1.95 1.04
CBF81-EC8 8 HEA 160 HEA 160 90 5 2.06 0.99 2 HEB 280 HEB 240 100 10 1.95 1.01
7 HEB 180 HEA 180 100 6.3 1.87 1.05 1 HEB 300 HEB 280 120 10 1.63 1.00
6 HEB 220 HEB 200 100 8 1.95 1.01 CBF82-EC8 8 HEA 180 HEA 200 90 5 2.06 1.02
5 HEB 240 HEB 220 100 10 2.01 1.10 7 HEB 180 HEB 180 100 6.3 1.87 0.99
4 HEB 280 HEB 240 120 10 1.63 1.01 6 HEB 220 HEB 200 100 8 1.95 0.99
3 HEB 300 HEB 280 120 10 1.63 0.98 5 HEB 260 HEB 240 100 10 2.01 1.03
2 HEM 240 HEB 320 140 10 1.38 0.98 4 HEB 280 HEB 260 120 10 1.63 1.13
1 HEM 240 HEM 240 140 10 1.38 1.00 3 HEB 300 HEB 300 120 10 1.63 1.03
CBF101-EC8 10 HEA 160 HEA 160 100 5 1.86 0.98 2 HD320 158 HD320 158 140 10 1.38 1.08
9 HEB 180 HEA 180 100 8 1.95 1.00 1 HD360 179 HD320 158 140 10 1.38 1.01
8 HEB 220 HEB 200 100 10 2.01 1.00 CBF81M-EC8 8 HEA 180 HEA 160 100 5 1.85 1.00
7 HEB 240 HEB 220 120 10 1.60 1.11 7 HEB 200 HEA 200 100 8 1.91 1.08
6 HEB 280 HEB 260 120 10 1.60 1.02 6 HEB 240 HEB 200 100 10 2.01 1.03
5 HEB 300 HEB 280 140 10 1.36 1.07 5 HEB 260 HEB 240 140 7.1 1.32 1.02
4 HEM 240 HEB 320 140 10 1.36 1.01 4 HEB 300 HEB 280 120 10 1.63 1.02
3 HEM 240 HEM 240 140 12.5 1.39 1.09 3 HEB 320 HEB 320 140 10 1.38 1.09
2 HEM 260 HEM 260 140 12.5 1.39 1.03 2 HEM 240 HEM 240 140 10 1.38 1.00
1 HEM 280 HD320198 150 12.5 1.39 0.98 1 HEM 260 HEM 260 150 10 1.27 1.00
146 D.B. Merczel et al. / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 125 (2016) 142163

On one hand, this limit correlates with the EC8 limitation of interstorey
drift (clause assuming no damage sensitive secondary members
and a reduction factor of the seismic action = 0.5. On the other hand,
this value can be substantiated by the experimental results of various
In order to examine the fracture life of rectangular and square hol-
low section braces, several authors conducted comprehensive experi-
mental surveys [1923]. Upon the assessment of the cyclic test results,
various methods and formulas were established that aim to predict
the fracture life [2427]. Although the formulas may differ, the different
authors agree that the most important factors inuencing the rupture of
hollow braces are the global and the local slenderness (i.e., and
breadth-to-thickness ratio) and the material grade. Assuming S235
grade material and a judicious choice of both local and global slender-
ness from the EC8 permitted range, the failure of SHS braces may be ex-
pected in the 23% percent interval. Available literature on the
resistance of H-section columns [28,29] and the gusset plates [30,31]
Fig. 3. Design and articial spectra also indicate the viability of the designated failure limit.
The diagrams in Fig. 7 are representative examples of the behaviour
obtained for every CBF considered in the research. It is worth to mention
displacement sequence. In Fig. 6, the measured and the computed be- that below 1.5 times the design seismic intensity, numerical conver-
haviour of the brace is presented. As it can be seen, the curves are mostly gence problems were not observed in any building.
overlapping one another. Some differences can be seen in the compres-
sion behaviour as the local buckling of plates at the mid-section [20] 5.2. Interpretation of IDA diagrams
that decreases the compressive resistance is not represented by the
beam element model applied in the analysis. In order to characterise the responses in terms of weak storey sus-
ceptibility, two hypothetical 4-storey IDA curves are presented in
5. Evaluation of the performance of EC8 CBF designs Fig. 8. The Fig. 8a shows the ideal behaviour of a CBF assuming the devel-
opment of the global plastic yield mechanism where the interstorey
5.1. Representation of the responses drifts are equal on every storey and the IDA curves of the different oors
are the same. The real curves of Fig. 7 are more alike the ones presented
In Fig. 7, the performance of the CBF designs is depicted by diagrams in Fig. 8b.
derived from the IDA. The diagrams do not have the usual appearance In the real responses, it can be observed, that the families of the
[21] where the damage against the seismic intensity is represented by curves are rather broad. The upper oors deviate from the rest at a
one curve for each acceleration record. The likelihood of the weak storey small scale factor, approximately 0.25, where the occurrence of rst
behaviour is better visualised by taking the average (of seven accelera- yield is anticipated, as the behaviour factor is 4. Beyond 0.25 scale factor,
tion records) relative interstorey drift results divided by the storey in the inelastic response range, the largest and the smallest maximum
height, i.e., the interstorey drift ratio (IDR), and plotting its evolution IDR results show great differences. The differences are large even at
for every oor separately in the considered seismic intensity range. In scale factors below the design level and especially in the taller buildings
the diagrams, the emphasised scale factor 1.0 is the design seismic in- the discrepancy is agrant. The buildings therefore do not exhibit a
tensity, above which unfavourable response or failure is of less signi- well-distributed dissipation; there is at least one, or in the taller build-
cance. In this evaluation, failure is considered above the 2% IDR limit. ings there are several weak storeys. It is also important to note that

Fig. 4. 3D to 2D projection of CBF structure.

D.B. Merczel et al. / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 125 (2016) 142163 147

Fig. 5. DOF and integrations points of nite element.

the rise of the weak storey drifts on the upper oors decreases and at The diagram in Fig. 8b depicts a soft storey phenomenon-induced
higher scale factors other oors may even catch up. early collapse. In this case, the building is considered collapsed at a
Regarding the differences that the moment resisting frames (type 2 scale factor smaller than the design level. The failure, however, is due
buildings) or the mass irregularity cause, we may see that the behaviour to unacceptably large deformations, not asymptotic increase of the dis-
fundamentally does not change, see Fig. 7/c, d, e diagrams. The numer- placements. Although the building may have been designed to have ad-
ous continuous columns in CBF82-EC8 mitigate the development of the equate lateral resistance, so that (asymptotic) failure is reached beyond
weak storey on the top compared to CBF81, but the weak storeys are the design level, still the disproportional plastic deformations lead to an
still there, and the failure limit is attained at closely the same seismic in- early collapse. CBF81-EC8, 82, 101, and 81M exhibit such inadequate
tensity. The mass irregularity also modies the shape of the IDA dia- response.
gram, but due to the reinforcement to carry the excess loading, the It is clear that the weak storey phenomenon has to be avoided as it
performance of CBF81M is not worse than of CBF81. facilitates collapse or just entails an adverse plastic behaviour. In order
As it has been pointed out, the weak storey behaviour may occur al- to obtain the optimal global plastic or, more precisely, a distributed dis-
ready at low seismic intensity but may also get strongly mitigated as the sipative behaviour, the differences between the storey drifts have to be
intensity increases. This shows that the likelihood of the weak storey be- reduced. However, even a building with a weak storey likelihood can be
haviour is not related solely to the intensity of the loading. Thus, the adequate as it has been discussed above. Therefore, the development of
weak storey phenomenon is not simply due to inadequacy to the im- a weak storey behaviour and the actual collapse can be uncoupled as
posed loading but the weakness of one oor, in comparison with the one does not necessarily mean the other. The weak storey phenomenon
other oors. The weak storey behaviour is an inherent susceptibility of does facilitate and therefore may result in collapse due to extensive
the structure coming from the structural arrangement, the cross- localised plastic deformations, but it may also result only uneven
sectional properties and connections. If so, the possibility of the occur- dissipation.
rence of a weak storey may be controlled taking into consideration
only the characteristics of the structure, without particular consider- 5.3. Tentative strengthening of the weak storey braces
ation to the design seismic intensity [32].
As the results indicate a unanimous adverse behaviour, we can con- Considering CBF41-EC8 and CBF61-EC8, it can be seen that there are
clude that the CBFs designed according to Eurocode 8 are susceptible to moderately developed weak storeys on the top oors in both cases. Let
develop weak storeys even when subjected to seismic actions that are us make an attempt to enhance the behaviour of the two buildings by
signicantly smaller than the design level. providing additional resistance on these oors. Replacing the braces ob-
Looking at the IDA curves of CBF41-EC8 and with a bit of allowance tained by the Eurocode 8 design on the top oors by SHS 100 6 diag-
on the failure limit CBF61-EC8, one can see that the lateral drift onals, we get the IDA curves presented in Fig. 9. First, we can see that the
disproportionally increases on one oor at a low scale factor, but early top oors became over-reinforced. This is not surprising as the selection
collapse is not realised. The collapse limit is attained at a scale factor of the new cross sections is not based on a rened design analysis. Com-
higher than the design level; therefore, the building is considered ade- paring to the originals in Fig. 7a and b, it can also be noticed that the sto-
quate. Yet, the behaviour of the building is not optimal as the lateral dis- reys below (3rd and 5th) exhibit a worse behaviour after reinforcement.
placements and dissipation are concentrated on some oors, the other In CBF61 the presence of the weak storey behaviour can clearly be seen
oors are not efcient. on the 5th oor. The additional resistance does not enhance the perfor-
mance of the buildings but modies the storey of the localisation. The
reinforcing of the storeys that were found to be inadequate does not
necessarily yield satisfactory designs and the disappearance of the
weak storey phenomenon. Therefore, it is clear that strengthening the
structure on the basis of the experienced effects may not provide better
designs and that the likelihood of the weak storey behaviour is indeed
not simply a storey resistance issue.
The observations so far indicate, that it is necessary to investigate the
underlying reasons of the development of the weak storey behaviour
and that a design method shall be elaborated to prevent its occurrence.

6. Development of the weak storey behaviour

6.1. Permanent deformations due to seismic actions

When a CBF is subjected to seismic action, the braces can undergo

several cycles of alternating deformations. Fig. 10 depicts the axial
forcedeformation diagram of the hollow section brace on the 4th
Fig. 6. Experimental and numerical axial forcedisplacement curves of SHS brace oor of CBF41-EC8 obtained with one of the nonlinear time history
148 D.B. Merczel et al. / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 125 (2016) 142163

4.5 4.5
St4 St6
Interstorey drift ratio [%]

Interstorey drift ratio [%]

4.0 St3 4.0 St5
St2 St4
3.5 St1 3.5 St3
3.0 3.0 St1
2.5 2.5
2.0 2.0
1.5 1.5
1.0 1.0
0.5 0.5
0.0 0.0
0.00 0.25 0.50 0.75 1.00 1.25 1.50 1.75 2.00 0.00 0.25 0.50 0.75 1.00 1.25 1.50 1.75 2.00
Scale factor of PGA Scale factor of PGA
a) b)
4.5 4.5
St8 St8

Interstorey drift ratio [%]

St7 St7
Interstorey drift ratio [%]

4.0 4.0
St6 St6
3.5 St5 3.5 St5
St4 St4
3.0 St3 3.0 St3
2.5 St2 2.5 St2
St1 St1
2.0 2.0
1.5 1.5
1.0 1.0
0.5 0.5
0.0 0.0
0.00 0.25 0.50 0.75 1.00 1.25 1.50 1.75 2.00 0.00 0.25 0.50 0.75 1.00 1.25 1.50 1.75 2.00
Scale factor of PGA Scale factor of PGA
c) d)
4.5 4.5
St8 St10
Interstorey drift ratio [%]

Interstorey drift ratio [%]

4.0 St7 4.0

St6 St8
3.5 St5 3.5 St7
St4 St6
3.0 St3 3.0 St5
2.5 St2 2.5 St4
St1 St3
2.0 2.0 St2
1.5 1.5
1.0 1.0
0.5 0.5
0.0 0.0
0.00 0.25 0.50 0.75 1.00 1.25 1.50 1.75 2.00 0.00 0.25 0.50 0.75 1.00 1.25 1.50 1.75 2.00
Scale factor of PGA Scale factor of PGA
e) f)
Fig. 7. IDA diagrams of selected CBFs. (a) CBF41-EC8, (b) CBF61-EC8, (c) CBF81-EC8, (d) CBF82-EC8, (e) CBF81M-EC8, (f) CBF101-EC8.

analyses. In this diagram, most of the tensile peaks do not cause yield; resistance of the mid-section, facilitates buckling, and may even lead
however, in three cycles, considerable plastic elongation is realised. As to a local low-cycle fatigue rupture.
the deformed length of the brace becomes larger than the original Together, the axial elongations and the development of the plastic
length, buckling occurs even in the positive deformation range. Also hinge at the mid length result in having triangular imperfect-shape
due to the increased length, for the development of the tensile resis- braces, see Fig. 11. The triangularity of the deformed braces in a CBF
tance of the brace larger axial, displacements are needed. Therefore, in following an earthquake is not necessarily equal on every storey.
the case of small tensile displacements, the counteracting force in the Large triangular deformation is a consequence of large interstorey
brace is diminished signicantly, i.e., the tangent stiffness decreases. In drifts during the earthquake. As in the weak storey behaviour, large
the diagram, both phenomena are indicated. lateral drifts are localised on one oor; the prominent triangular
When the brace is in compression, owing to the combined effect of degradation of the braces is coherent with the development of a
the axial force and the bending resulted by the buckling, a semi- weak storey. Since the dissipation of seismic input energy through
plastic hinge develops at mid length. This plastic hinge generally ap- plastic deformation of all the braces is actually the desired
pears associated with local plate buckling. In the repeated cycles, the behaviour, the described degradation of one brace is not avoidable
buckled pattern folds and unfolds over and over again and the edges in regular braced buildings. To prevent the degradation, buckling re-
in the buckled zone undergo repeated alternating plastic deformations. strained braces may be used [10,11], but this otherwise more costly
The accumulation of plastic deformations decreases the moment solution is not in the scope of this article.
D.B. Merczel et al. / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 125 (2016) 142163 149

a) b)
Fig. 8. Global mechanism and realistic IDA curves of CBFs. (a) Global mechanism. (b) Weak storey with early failure.

As the degradation of the braces and the development of a weak sto- frequencies of the perfect model with one brace are 0.84 Hz and
rey are seemingly interrelated, the effect of the deformations on the CBF 2.26 Hz, respectively. One can see in the results of the table that with
response needs to be investigated. the concurrent increase of the imperfection of all the braces the de-
crease of the frequencies in the two modes is roughly proportional.
6.2. A simplied model to simulate the effect of brace deformations on the However, this is not the case when the triangular modication is done
CBF's response to the braces of one storey only. For example, the growing imperfection
on the rst oor halves the frequency of the rst mode but barely
To evaluate the effect of the brace deterioration on the dynamic changes the second. Consequently, it is not only the frequency of the
characteristics of a CBF, a series of natural frequency analyses were con- modes that changes.
ducted on the elastic model of the four-storey braced frame (CBF41- The introduced imperfection of the braces modies the stiffness ma-
EC8). The perfect model with two straight bracing bars was altered. At trix of the structure. It decreases the stiffness values corresponding to
the midpoint of two braces on the same oor, different magnitudes of the end nodes of the altered braces only. Therefore, the new stiffness
imperfection were introduced. The midpoints of the diagonals were matrix of the structure is not proportional to the original while the
pulled perpendicularly to the bar by 10 cm at each step up to 50 cm. mass matrix remains the same. Thus, the mode shapes have to change
This resulted in triangular-shaped braces. The considered maximal al- also. In Fig. 12, the modal frequencies and shapes and the modal mass
teration (50 cm) corresponds to a 2.76% relative storey drift ratio. The participation (MMP) are indicated. These results are presented for the
triangular alteration of the diagonals has been done at every oor sepa- perfect four-storey building and two imperfect ones. Fig. 12.b corre-
rately to analyse the effect of developed weak storeys. Also the same im- sponds to a concurrent 40 cm imperfection of every brace, while
perfections have been applied on every storey simultaneously, which Fig. 12.c depicts the case where the same imperfection is introduced
corresponds to the development of the global plastic mechanism. Fur- only on the 4th storey. The mode shapes of Fig. 12a and b are seemingly
thermore, the natural frequencies of the perfect model with one diago- similar. Thus, the modal analysis of the perfect model well describes the
nal on every oor have been computed, neglecting the buckled bar in response of a CBF where every oor participates in the dissipation. In
compression, accordingly to Eurocode 8 provisions. In Table 3, the fre- Fig. 12.c, the mode shapes of the building with a developed weak storey
quencies of the modes of vibration for the more relevant rst and sec- show that the rst mode is approximately the movement of the oor
ond modes are listed. The rows of the table correspond to the different above the weak one. Conversely, the second mode primarily consists
levels of the introduced imperfection while the columns differ in the of the motion of the stories below the weak storey. Visibly, the existence
storey of the imperfection. For the sake of comparison, the modal of a oor with a low lateral stiffness decouples the relevant modes of the

4.5 4.5
St4 St6
Top reinforcement!
Interstorey drift ratio [%]

Top reinforcement!
Interstorey drift ratio [%]

4.0 St3 4.0 St5

St2 St4
3.5 3.5
St1 St3
3.0 3.0 St2
2.5 2.5
2.0 2.0
1.5 1.5
1.0 1.0
0.5 0.5
0.0 0.0
0.00 0.25 0.50 0.75 1.00 1.25 1.50 1.75 2.00 0.00 0.25 0.50 0.75 1.00 1.25 1.50 1.75 2.00
Scale factor of PGA Scale factor of PGA
a) b)
Fig. 9. IDA diagrams of reinforced CBFs. (a) CBF41-EC8. (b) CBF61-EC8.
150 D.B. Merczel et al. / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 125 (2016) 142163

tension Table 3
1 Natural frequencies of imperfect 4-storey CBFs

0.8 Imperfection Natural frequency of mode 1 Natural frequency of mode 2

magnitude [cm] [Hz] [Hz]
decrease of
stiffness Storey of imperfection Storey of imperfection

1 2 3 4 All 1 2 3 4 All
0.2 10 0.95 0.99 1.03 1.09 0.69 2.75 3.12 2.95 2.36 1.90
20 0.67 0.87 0.78 0.82 0.41 2.52 3.07 2.71 1.90 1.13
30 0.54 0.76 0.65 0.64 0.29 2.46 3.03 2.62 1.79 0.82
-0.2 40 0.47 0.59 0.58 0.53 0.22 2.43 2.99 2.58 1.75 0.65
decrease of buckling load
compression 50 0.43 0.57 0.54 0.46 0.18 2.42 2.98 2.56 1.73 0.56
-12 -10 -8 -6 -4 -2 0 2 4 6 8 10
Axial deformation []
of the diagonals. The initial localisation of plasticity on one or very few
Fig. 10. Characteristic normalised axial forcedeformation diagram of brace. oors can be caused by the overstrength relations of the oors [1], higher
mode effects [33], or random effects of the seismic excitation [34], but in
the cluttered response of a building, it is more likely than the simulta-
building to modes that describe the motion of the oors above or below neous plastic deformation taking place everywhere.
the weak storey and these modes substantially differ from the originals The triangular deformation devolves the lateral loads on the col-
of the perfect model. It needs to be pointed out, that the frequency of the umns. The columns counteract the loading by bending, insofar as they
rst imperfect mode is signicantly smaller than of the second and are continuous on at least one end. The bending develops even as a re-
upper modes; therefore, the displacements associated with this mode sult of the brace deterioration, not only in a storey plastic collapse mech-
are dominating in the response. anism. Thus, the braced frame stops being a perfect truss, developing
As it can be seen, the degradation of the braces results in the abrupt only axial forces; therefore, continuous columns are indispensable in a
loss of lateral stiffness. If the loss has a similar amplitude on every sto- CBF. The brace deformation also causes a crucial drop of the storey
rey, then the CBF just becomes more exible; the general appearance shear stiffness. The resulting irregularity of the horizontal stiffness
of the response to excitation does not change signicantly. However, if along the building height modies the global dynamic behaviour of
the stiffness decrease is localised on a weak storey, the response of the the building and facilitates the localisation of large relative drifts on
CBF becomes as it is depicted by Fig. 13 (for a hypothetical case). This the storey under consideration. With the large drifts of the storey, plas-
displacement pattern demonstrates the localisation of the displace- tic deformations cumulate in the hinges at the middle of the braces, the
ments on the weak storey. This localisation may lead to even further bars deteriorate, the resistance of the braces decrease, and further plas-
degradation of the braces, decrease of the stiffness, and consequently, tic yield is facilitated.
to the gradually amplied development of the weak storey phenome- This process may be a recurring loop gradually increasing the dam-
non in repeated loops as explained in the next section. age of the weak storey. Hence, the development of the weak storey
mechanism can be regarded as auto amplifying phenomenon in case
6.3. Repeated process resulting in the weak storey behaviour of cyclic seismic action. The loop is broken by the collapse of the weak
storey. This can happen either by not having adequate columns on,
As the displacement response of a CBF with deteriorated braces on a above, and below the weak storey or by the fatigue failure of the braces
weak storey may lead to further plastic deformations, the process of the and gussets. The presented loop evidently leads to failure if a sufciently
development of the weak storey behaviour can be ascertained. Fig. 14 large number of cycles are exerted. Yet as the number of cycles during a
depicts an organigram of this process. The occurrence of plastic yield of seismic action is limited, by preventing excess brace deformations and
the braces on one oor results in the permanent triangular deformation providing exural column resistance and stiffness by choosing


Fig. 11. Inelastic deformations of a CBF due to seismic action.

D.B. Merczel et al. / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 125 (2016) 142163 151

M1 f=0,84 Hz M2 f=2,26 Hz M1 f=0,22 Hz M2 f=0,65 Hz M1 f=0,53 Hz M2 f=1,75 Hz

MMP=0,83 MMP=0,12 MMP=0,85 MMP=0,10 MMP=0,40 MMP=0,50
1,000 -1,000 1,000 -1,000 1,000 -0,229

0,755 0,364 0,787 0,442 0,152 1,000

0,510 0,955 0,532 0,907 0,087 0,743

0,245 0,705 0,277 0,628 0,043 0,371

a) b) c)
Fig. 12. Mode shapes of perfect and imperfect 4-storey models. (a) Perfect model, (b) concurrent 40 cm imperfection, (c) 40 cm imperfection on 4th oor.

adequately large cross sections, the gradual development of the weak The RSBD method, also based on the kinematic theorem of limit anal-
storey may be restrained. ysis, is an effective way to address the shortcomings of the elastic
Upon the description of the behaviour and the response of CBFs to analysis given in EC8 which, as shown in Section 5, fails to eliminate
seismic actions presented above, an effective design method that will weak storey mechanisms. Therefore, the RSBD method is rather a
be elaborated in the following should complement to EC8 than an alternative design method as those pro-
posed in [3537]. In addition, the RSBD method always leads to a
- take into consideration the change of the modal behaviour due to strengthening of the seismic-resistant structure so that buckling of
the brace deterioration and the resulting response of the CBF; columns is not anymore an issue since they have been checked in
- quantify the participation of the columns and impose requirements the EC8 procedure.
to their performance in the lateral resistance of a storey; The RSBD method imposes two requirements that are both based
on the kinematic theorem of plasticity. The rst requirement allows
to ensure that if a weak storey behaviour starts to develop at any sto-
This method should prevent both the weak storey behaviour and the rey, it will not fail before subsequently involving further storeys in
weak storey collapse. the dissipation. The second requirement tries to enforce equal
interstorey drifts with the aim to obtain a proportionally distributed
7. The robust seismic brace design method (RSBD) plastic dissipation, i.e., the global mechanism. It is worth mentioning
that the second requirement prevents also the occurrence of partial
The RSBD method proposed in this paper is not a stand-alone de- plastic mechanisms involving several storeys. This is in contrast (sig-
sign method exclusively based on plastic analysis, which is in sharp nicant difference) with the TPMC method developed in [3537]. In
contrast with other methods proposed in the literature [3537]. principle, these requirements should be formulated considering

Model Mode 1 Mode 2 Combination of modes


Fig. 13. Modal response of a CBF with a weak storey (modelled by triangular braces).
152 D.B. Merczel et al. / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 125 (2016) 142163

forces of equal magnitude (if the slab masses are equal) applied to the
slabs from the ith storey up to the top, see Fig. 15. In an n-storey CBF, n
different load distributions should be analysed each ranging from the
top down to a particular storey. For each load pattern, the load multiplier
corresponding to the formation of the global, glob, and the local, loc, plas-
tic mechanism can be computed, i.e., n multiplier pairs can be calculated.
If the local load multiplier is larger than the global, then according to the
kinematic principle, the occurrence of a storey collapse is prevented.
Thus, in order to secure that all the storeys have enough reserve so that
no localised collapse shall occur, the following criterion has to be met:

1:0 where i 1::n 8
Fig. 14. Organigram of the weak storey behaviour of CBFs.

Although the condition of Eq. (8) is necessary to prevent weak storey

second-order geometrical effects. For the sake of clarity, these re- collapse, it is not sufcient to keep the differences of the interstorey
quirements are developed below without second-order geometrical drifts on all the oors within an acceptable range. Sufciently large sto-
effects. The second-order RSBD formulation is given in appendix B. rey resistance can be provided by enlarging either the brace or the col-
umn cross sections as they are both involved in the plastic resistance. If
7.1. Criteria imposed on CBFs by the RSBD method in an extreme case the resistance is only given by the brace and the col-
umns are negligible (or hinged at both ends), the load corresponding to
As Eurocode 8 criteria are based on the elastic response of the struc- the yield of the brace is equal to the ultimate plastic resistance of the
ture subjected to the reduced-intensity seismic action, they may not be storey. As the method under consideration aims to prevent the attain-
adapted in a random but probable inelastic response, such as the ap- ment of the storey resistance, the brace yield will not be reached either
pearance of a weak storey. First, in an elastic analysis, due to the truss and the storey remains elastic throughout the seismic action. Converse-
action of the bracing, only negligible bending can be expected. Con- ly, if all the resistance is provided by the columns and the braces are
versely, the columns in a weak storey response are subjected to signi- neglected, the lateral displacement of this certain oor will be a lot larg-
cant bending due to the degradation of the braces, so the requirement er than of other oors. The bending of the columns permits substantially
imposed on the axial resistance of the columns, Eq. (5), may not be sat- larger displacements than the stiff bracing. Such a oor has the tenden-
isfactory to provide adequate column sections. In a weak storey re- cy to exhibit the weak storey behaviour. The anticipated responses of
sponse, the axial forces of the braces may also be different from the these two extreme cases are depicted in Fig. 16 along with the theoret-
ones obtained by elastic analysis; therefore, the uniformity condition ical behaviour of a regular well-designed oor. The two cases may be
of the storey overstrength factors, Eq. (1), may be violated. satisfactory, satisfying all resistance design criteria, but certainly they
Let us consider several kinematically admissible collapse mecha- are both unfavourable because they impair the dissipative behaviour
nisms of a CBF and compare them. According to theory, the mechanism of the CBF. In the former case, the oor is not exploited in the dissipa-
that can be realised is the one that corresponds to the smallest resis- tion, whereas the latter case is too much involved by developing weak
tance to lateral loading. The considered plastic mechanisms have to be storey behaviour.
obviously the favourable global mechanism and the unfavourable Let us divide the local multiplier into two parts, i.e., the participation of
weak storey mechanisms. Partial mechanisms that involve several, but the brace(s) and the participation of the columns. Let us denote the for-
not every storey in the plastic deformation may be regarded also. Con- mer by br and the later by col. The diagrams of Fig. 17 depict the two ex-
sequently, the lateral collapse load of the global mechanism and n- treme cases where the load multiplier is plotted against the anticipated
storey mechanisms (in a n-storey CBF) have to be computed. In order lateral interstorey drift response of a storey. The thin lines depict the ini-
to take into account the change of the modal behaviour of a CBF, a lateral tial response of the storey, the thick lines are anticipated when the trian-
loading that corresponds to the inelastic response shall be applied. It has gular brace deterioration is present. When the resistance provided only
to be noted though, that if we consider the inelastic response of a CBF, by the brace is high, i.e., br is close to glob (Fig. 17a), large inelastic defor-
various load arrangements are possible. The deterioration of the braces mations are not attained, the brace deterioration is relatively small. On the
on the ith storey results in a response, where only the oors above the contrary, in the case of the diagram on Fig. 17b when signicant involve-
weak storey sway with large amplitudes. The equivalent seismic load ment of the columns is needed to respect the rst criterion of Eq.(8), the
distribution corresponding to this response involves concentrated inelastic displacements and the deterioration are larger. The objective of a

Fig. 15. Equivalent lateral loading of CBF with developed weak storey.
D.B. Merczel et al. / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 125 (2016) 142163 153

obvious that if the BPR is close to 1.0, then the bracing is overdesigned,
column resistance is barely needed, and the storey is not involved in the
plastic dissipation. Therefore, it is recommended that the maximum BPR
shall not exceed 0.9. It has to be noted that the 0.1 and 0.9 constants
have been determined empirically, using numerous examples referred
to in this article:

BPR min 0:1BPR max 12

The two criteria of the RSBD method, Eqs. (8) and (12), will be used
to redesign the CBFs obtained by the Eurocode 8 procedure. The original
Fig. 16. Improper brace or column participation in storey resistance. cross sections obtained by EC8 should not be decreased.
The rst criterion does not require the denition of the amplitudes of
the equivalent seismic forces. This is a signicant advantage of the
second criterion is to prevent such inelastic displacement differences be-
method in comparison with other plasticity-based methods given in
tween storeys that otherwise satisfy the rst criterion.
the literature where the denition of these loads may be questionable.
Regarding the drift corresponding to the yield of the brace, dbr, if the
The second criterion tends to impose uniform interstorey drifts
yield stress is the same at every storey, then this drift also is closely the
without resorting to their explicit determination. This is accomplished
same constant on every storey. In order to promote a uniform response
by the Brace Performance Ratio parameter determined again by the
on every oor, it needs to be ensured, that the inelastic drift correspond-
use of the kinematical theorem. This was made possible by considering
ing to the attainment of the global mechanism, dglob, is also closely the
the gradual change of the dynamic behaviour of the structure due to the
same on every oor. Therefore, the following ratio has to be quasi con-
deterioration of the braces.
stant for all the storeys:

dbr;i 7.2. Determination of the parameters used in the RSBD method

const 9
The evaluation of the RSBD criteria requires the determination of the
load multipliers. This necessitates the computation of the internal and
Let us consider the dashed lines dening the secant stiffness of the in-
external works on the plastic yield mechanisms. In the following, the
elastic response. The ratio of the stiffness values, denoted by , describes
necessary formulae will be derived.
the relative stiffness loss resulted by the deterioration of the brace.
The parameters describing the geometry of a braced bay are present-
br;i glob;i ed in Fig. 18. The connections of the parameters related to the lateral
= i 10 displacement are approximated as follows:
dbr ; i dglob;i

As it has been described in Section 6.2, a signicant localised decrease B

sin 13
of the stiffness modies the modal behaviour in a way that promotes the H
development of the weak storey. Consequently, in order to prevent the
occurrence of the weak storey, it is required that shall also be the L
B 14
same on every storey. By combining Eqs. (9) and (10), the so-called cos
Brace Performance Ratio (BPR) can be expressed, which can be well ap-
proximated by the ratio of load multipliers, given that the left side of where is the angle between the brace and the horizontal direction. In a
the equation below is considered to be quasi constant on every storey. rst-order analysis, the vertical drift is considered to be equal to zero. In
case of large lateral displacement, the vertical drift cannot be neglected
br;i dbr;i anymore and a second-order analysis is required (see Appendix B).
BPRi i const: 11
glob;i dglob;i

As a second design criterion, additional to Eq. (8), it is required that B2

H 0 15
the maximum and minimum BPR do not differ by more than 0.1. It is 2H

a) b)
Fig. 17. Theoretical elasto-plastic load multiplier displacement curves. (a) High resistance provided by braces. (b) High resistance provided by columns.
154 D.B. Merczel et al. / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 125 (2016) 142163

where Ab is the area of the section, b is the breadth, and tf is the thickness
of the ange. If the criteria of Eq. (18) or Eq. (19) are not met, the mo-
ment resistance is to be decreased with a linear expression in case of
the y axis and a quadratic in case of the z:

My;c Nc Mpl;y;c  20
10:5  a
Mz;c Nc Mpl;z;c  1 21


For the sake of simplicity, in this investigation both interaction

curves are considered to be bilinear. In order to do so, an appropriately
chosen nlim needs to be determined, which is the limit axial force as be-
fore in Eq. (19). Let us compute the difference of the nonlinear interac-

tion curve, Eq. (21), and its bilinear approximation as the integral of the
square of the differences:
Fig. 18. Geometry model.

Z1  na2  2
npl;c n
diff 1 dn 22
7.2.1. Internal work of the braces and the columns 1a npl;c n lim
In the calculation of the internal work of the braces, the compression
brace is neglected supposing that the plastic rotation of the hinge at the
mid length of the brace dissipates signicantly less energy in a plastic Dening nlim to make the above difference minimal gives an optimal
mechanism than the tensile yield of the brace in tension. Therefore, denition of the bilinear interaction curve. For most H-section columns
the internal work of the brace on the ith oor is used in the CBFs of the present research, the limit has been found to be
between 0.45 and 0.5. In Fig. 20, the interaction and bilinearised interac-
W t;br;i L Npl;br;i  Li Abr;i  f y  Li 16 tion curves are presented.
For bending about both axes, the interaction can be expressed in the
following form:
By substituting Eqs. (13) and (14) into Eq. (16), we get
W t;br;i N pl;br;i  cos i  H i  17 < M pl;c if Nc N lim
Mc Nc Npl;c Nc 23
: M if Nc NN lim
To determine the plastic work of the columns, the momentaxial Npl;c N lim pl;c
force interaction has to be considered as the deformation of the cross
section can be described by the axial shortening, N, and the rotation
(see Fig. 19): where Nlim is located at the intersection of the two solid lines
In Eurocode 3, the interaction of the axial force and the bending mo- (Fig. 20).
ment for both axes of an H-section is dened in Clause For bend- The eccentricity of the neutral axis, e, indicated in Fig. 19, can be cal-
ing about the rst principal axis, y, the bending resistance is not culated as follows:
decreased by the axial force if:
0:5  hw  t w  f y < 0 if Nc N lim
N c 0:25 Npl;c and N c 18 eNc M pl;c 24
M0 : if Nc NN lim
Npl;c N lim
where Nc is the column axial force, tw is the thickness of the web, fy is the
yield stress (235 MPa), Npl,c is the axial plastic resistance, hw is the
height of the web of the section (h-2 tf), and M0 is a (safety) partial
factor taken equal to 1.0. For bending about the z axis, the resistance is 1
not decreased if 0.9
Nc Ac 2b  t f
n a with n and a 0:5 19 0.7
Npl;c Ac

My-N EC interaction
0.2 Mz-N EC interaction
0.1 bilinear Mz-N interaction
0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1

Fig. 19. Normal stress distributions and deformation diagram of column. Fig. 20. Interaction curves.
D.B. Merczel et al. / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 125 (2016) 142163 155

Nc,i+1,j My,c,i+1,j floor i

Nc,i,j My,c,i,j

column j

Nc,i-1,j floor i-1
- + - +
Fig. 21. Internal forces and plastic hinges of columns in storey mechanism.

If we express the plastic work of the bent and axially loaded column Furthermore, for the determination of the plastic moment resistance
cross section as the signicant axial forces in the columns have to be considered also.
As these increase at every oor slab, the resistance of the column
W c Mc Nc Nc  eN c 25 below a certain slab is not necessarily larger than the one above. Conse-
quently, attention is to be paid to appropriately select the smallest resis-
and we combine it with Eq. (23) and Eq. (24) it is found that, as a result tance at both oor slabs of the analysed storey. For each column, a
of the bi-linearization, the work is not dependent on the axial force: pointer vector can be dened that identies which column's work has
8 to be considered in the computation. The pointer vector, J, has only
< M pl;c  if N c N lim zero or one values. The vector for the jth column on the ith oor, assum-
W c Npl;c 26 ing bending about the y axis, is
: M  if Nc NN lim
Npl;c N lim pl;c
2 3
if Mc;i1; j bMc;i; j then 1; otherwise 0
As it can be seen, the bilinear interaction curve simplies the strong 6 if Mc;i1; j NMc;i; j then 1; otherwise 0 7
dependence of the plastic work on the axial force into two intervals. The J i; j 6
4 if Mc;i1; j NM c;i; j then 1; otherwise 0 5
7 27
choice of the suitable expression from Eq. (26) still depends on the axial if Mc;i1; j bM c;i; j then 1; otherwise 0
force, but this may only lead to a two-step iterative calculation.
The internal work of the columns is considered only in storey mech-
It is important, that in the case of hinged column splices, the corre-
anisms and obviously only on the storey of the mechanism itself. In a
sponding entry are considered to be zero in the vector above. With
building, all the columns, a total number of m, may participate in the lat-
the pointer vector, the total internal work of a column j assigned to
eral resistance depending on the moment resistance of the column
the storey i is computed as follows:
splices. The peak values of the bending moment diagram, see Fig. 21,
are located at the oor slabs.
As the beams are usually connected to the columns, in a convention- 
W col;i; j W c;i1; j W c;i; j W c;i; j W c;i1; j
al CBF, by ordinary hinges, the moment peaks may form a plastic hinge  J i; j
right above or under the oor slabs, where the cross sections may be dif-
ferent (although such conguration does not reect usual practice).

mpn. glob,i mpn. loc,i

mpi. glob,i mpi. loc,i

Fig. 22. External work of lateral loading and gravity forces.

156 D.B. Merczel et al. / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 125 (2016) 142163

This equation can be rewritten by factoring the rotation: Table 4b

h i Storey Int.col. Ext.col. Brace loc glob loc BPR
W col;i; j M sub
c;i1; j Msub
c;i; j M sub
c;i; j M sub
c;i1; j  J i; j 29

4 HEA 160 HEA 200 90 6.3 1.43 578.7 568.3 1.02 0.86
where Msub is a moment resistance substituting the one given by 3 HEB 180 HEB 200 100 6.3 0.99 395.6 324.8 1.22 0.84
Eq. (23): 2 HEB 220 HEB 200 100 8 0.97 343.7 252.6 1.36 0.90
1 HEB 260 HEB 240 100 10 0.99 240.2 227.3 1.06 0.91
< M pl;c if N c N lim
Msub N pl;c 30
: M if Nc NN lim Fig. 22 depicts the relevant external forces of a CBF noting that mpi
Npl;c N lim pl;c
glob,i or mpi loc,i are the horizontal forces and Gi,j is the lumped gravity
loads. In the local mechanism, the lateral forces are equally displaced,
their work is
For every column, the product of the substituting moments and the
pointer vector can be interpreted as a total moment that has to be used X
W ;loc;i  H i  loc;i  mpk 34
for the determination of the plastic work:

h i
Mcol;i; j M sub Msub Msub M sub In the global mechanism, the lateral displacement increases with the
c;i1; j c;i; j c;i; j c;i1; j  J i; j 31
height of the building. Therefore, for every concentrated loading in-
volved in the mechanism, the lateral displacement has to be calculated
individually. The external work can be computed as follows:
By substituting Eq. (31) into Eq. (29) and by summing up all the m
columns on a storey, the internal work of the columns in the storey X
n X

mechanism is expressed as a function of the lateral drift as follows: W ;glob;i  glob;i  mpk  Hl 35
ki l1

W col;i Mcol;i; j  32 The vertical shortening has been considered to be negligible in
Eq. (15) as the vertical displacement is innitesimally small for the
sake of the plastic limit analysis. Consequently, the second-order work
of the gravity loads is zero with this approximation, but in a storey
7.2.2. External work of the lateral forces and gravity loads mechanism, the work on the plastic axial deformation has to be taken
In the RSBD method, the seismic loading is dened as horizontal into consideration. The axial deformation is (see Fig. 19):
concentrated forces applied at the height of the oor slabs. The forces
are dened by an unknown parameter, denoted by , and to account N  eN c 36
for the variability of the masses, it is multiplied by a reduced mass vec-
tor, mp. This vector is dened as the sum of the masses on a storey divid- The location of the plastic axial deformation is the same as the loca-
ed by the smallest of all the storey masses. If the mass is constant along tion of the plastic hinge, which has been treated already by the use of a
the height, the vector is an identity vector; otherwise, it shows the ratio pointer vector, see Eq. (27). Using this vector the axial deformation of
of the overweight of the particular oors. the column j on storey i is

N;i; j ey;i1; j Nc ey;i; j Nc ey;i; j Nc ey;i1; j Nc  J i; j  37
mi; j
mpi 0 1 33
X By collecting the eccentricities as it has been done for the moments
min @ mi; j A in Eq. (31) and noting

ecol;i; j ey;i1; j Nc ey;i; j Nc ey;i; j Nc ey;i1; j Nc  J i; j 38

The loading is distributed from the top down to the oor under in- the work of the gravity forces above the considered storey on the
vestigation. In an n-storey-tall building n, different load patterns can axial deformation of the columns in a storey mechanism is
be dened. The i index appended to the load parameter refers to a dis-
Xn X
tribution ranging from the ith storey up. According to the basic idea of W G;loc;i Gk;l  ecol;l 39
the RSBD method, the works are computed for global and local plastic ki l1
mechanisms, so for the n load arrangements, n load multiplier pairs,
glob,i and loc,i, have to be calculated.

Table 5a
Table 4a
CBF41-EC8 Storey Int.col. Ext.col. Brace loc glob loc BPR

Storey Int.col. Ext.col. Brace loc glob loc BPR
6 HEA 160 HEA 160 90 5 1.00 364.4 513.6 0.71 0.70
5 HEB 180 HEA 180 100 6 0.98 265.0 280.1 0.95 0.81
4 HEA 160 HEA 140 100 4 1.05 342.5 471.6 0.73 0.70 4 HEB 220 HEB 200 100 8 1.04 245.7 205.4 1.20 0.91
3 HEB 180 HEA 200 100 6.3 0.99 291.8 269.5 1.08 0.91 3 HEB 240 HEB 220 100 10 1.04 230.7 171.2 1.35 0.96
2 HEB 220 HEB 200 100 8 0.97 255.5 209.6 1.22 0.95 2 HEB 280 HEB 240 100 10 1.01 197.7 154.1 1.28 0.90
1 HEB 260 HEB 240 100 10 0.99 193.1 188.7 1.02 0.95 1 HEB 300 HEB 280 120 10 1.00 148.8 146.7 1.01 0.90
D.B. Merczel et al. / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 125 (2016) 142163 157

Table 5b Table 6b

Storey Int.col. Ext.col. Brace loc glob loc BPR Storey Int.col. Ext.col. Brace loc glob loc BPR

glob glob

6 HEA 160 HEA 200 100 6.3 1.42 632.3 652.1 0.97 0.84 8 HEA 160 HEA 220 100 8 1.74 800.2 798.7 1.00 0.76
5 HEB 180 HEB 200 100 8 1.17 439.7 355.7 1.24 0.90 7 HEB 180 HEB 200 100 8 1.21 479.7 426.0 1.13 0.71
4 HEB 220 HEB 200 100 8 1.00 300.2 260.8 1.15 0.82 6 HEB 220 HEB 200 100 10 1.22 336.3 304.3 1.11 0.75
3 HEB 240 HEB 220 100 10 1.02 257.8 217.4 1.19 0.88 5 HEB 240 HEB 220 100 10 1.11 269.7 245.7 1.10 0.75
2 HEB 280 HEB 260 100 10 0.96 239.3 195.6 1.22 0.84 4 HEB 280 HEB 240 120 10 1.17 244.5 213.0 1.15 0.80
1 HEB 300 HEB 280 120 10 0.97 188.0 186.3 1.01 0.85 3 HEB 300 HEB 280 120 10 1.07 219.3 193.6 1.13 0.73
2 HEM 240 HEB 320 140 10 1.08 226.3 182.6 1.24 0.80
1 HEM 240 HEM 240 140 10 0.98 182.4 177.5 1.03 0.72

7.2.3. Determination of the load multipliers

In order to express the load multipliers needed to evaluate the two
m Xn X
criteria of the RSBD method we consider the equivalence of the external Npl;br;i  H i  cos i M col;i; j Gk;l  ecol;l
and the internal works in both the local and global mechanisms. In case j1 ki l1
loc;i 45
of the global mechanism the equation is as follows: X
Hi  mpk
X ki
W ;glob;i W t;br;i 40
The formula for the calculation of br, which is necessary for the de-
termination of the BPR, is deduced from Eq. (45), neglecting the partic-
Substituting Eqs. (17) and (35) into Eq. (40) we get: ipation of the columns and the gravity forces as those are also related to
the plastic hinges of the columns:
n X
k X
 glob;i  mpk  Hl Npl;br;i  H i  cos i 41 Npl;br;i  H i  cos i
br;i 46
ki l1 i X n
Hi  mpk
In case of the local mechanism the energy equivalence is the follow-
ing: In classical plastic limit analysis, the parameter of the displacements,
hereby , is innitesimally small. In the seismic response of building
W ;loc;i W G;loc;i W t;br;i W col;i 42 structures, the drifts are moderate but hardly innitesimal. Consequent-
ly, the second-order work of the large gravity forces may substantially
affect the results that we could obtain with the limit state analysis. To
Substituting Eqs. (17), (32), (34), (39) into Eq. (42), we get take into account this effect, Eqs. (44)(46) were elaborated including
the second-order work of the gravity forces also (see Appendix B).
n Xn X
m  With this approach, the RSBD redesign yields slightly more economic
 H i  loc;i  mpk Gk;l  ecol;l
and better performing CBFs, but the difference is mostly not prominent.
ki ki l1
Xm 43 For further details see [38] and the appendix.
Npl;br;i   H i  cos i Mcol;i; j 
7.3. Outline of the RSBD redesign procedure

From Eqs. (41) and (43), both the global and the local multipliers can The RSBD redesign method has to be conducted in the following
be expressed explicitly. However, it has to be noted, that for the deter- steps:
mination of the local multiplier a two-step iterative calculation may - Initial design of the structure according to related codes,
be needed as the column work depends on the axial force, which is af- i.e., Eurocode 3 and Eurocode 8 considering the response spectra, be-
fected by the lateral loading for certain columns. haviour factor, conducting an elastic analysis, and dimensioning the
X members according to its internal force results. In the seismic design,
N pl;br;i  H i  cos i the uniformity condition (Eq. (1)) may be neglected.
glob;i ! 44
n X
mpk  Hl
ki l1
Table 7a
Table 6a
Storey Int.col. Ext.col. Brace loc glob loc BPR
Storey Int.col. Ext.col. Brace loc glob loc BPR
8 HEA 180 HEA 200 90 5 1.02 458.5 644.2 0.71 0.52
glob 7 HEB 180 HEB 180 100 6.3 0.99 370.3 343.6 1.08 0.66
8 HEA 160 HEA 160 90 5 0.99 402.0 609.5 0.66 0.53 6 HEB 220 HEB 200 100 8 0.99 310.5 245.4 1.27 0.70
7 HEB 180 HEA 180 100 6.3 1.05 296.3 325.1 0.91 0.67 5 HEB 260 HEB 240 100 10 1.03 306.0 198.2 1.54 0.77
6 HEB 220 HEB 200 100 8 1.01 245.0 232.2 1.05 0.71 4 HEB 280 HEB 260 120 10 1.13 308.6 171.8 1.80 0.88
5 HEB 240 HEB 220 100 10 1.10 229.0 187.5 1.22 0.77 3 HEB 300 HEB 300 120 10 1.03 282.0 156.2 1.81 0.79
4 HEB 280 HEB 240 120 10 1.01 217.5 162.5 1.34 0.88 2 HD320 HD320 140 10 1.08 306.0 147.2 2.08 0.86
3 HEB 300 HEB 280 120 10 0.98 192.3 147.8 1.30 0.78 158 158
2 HEM 240 HEB 320 140 10 0.98 210.8 139.3 1.51 0.85 1 HD360 HD320 140 10 1.01 198.7 143.2 1.39 0.76
1 HEM 240 HEM 240 140 10 1.00 147.2 135.5 1.09 0.74 179 158
158 D.B. Merczel et al. / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 125 (2016) 142163

Table 7b Table 8b

Storey Int.col. Ext.col. Brace loc glob loc BPR Storey Int.col. Ext.col. Brace loc glob loc BPR

glob glob

8 HEB 180 HEB 180 110 6.3 1.55 691.6 714.9 0.97 0.72 8 HEA 180 HEA 240 100 8 1.44 629.3 591.9 1.06 0.76
7 HEB 180 HEB 180 100 8 1.21 443.0 386.6 1.15 0.74 7 HEB 200 HEA 240 110 8 1.20 402.4 315.7 1.27 0.81
6 HEB 220 HEB 200 100 10 1.24 365.9 276.1 1.33 0.82 6 HEB 240 HEB 200 100 10 1.11 256.7 225.5 1.14 0.79
5 HEB 260 HEB 240 100 10 1.12 319.6 223.0 1.43 0.74 5 HEB 260 HEB 240 140 7.1 1.02 209.9 182.1 1.15 0.74
4 HEB 280 HEB 260 120 10 1.18 316.6 193.3 1.64 0.82 4 HEB 300 HEB 280 120 10 1.02 209.7 161.4 1.30 0.75
3 HEB 300 HEB 300 120 10 1.07 288.7 175.7 1.64 0.74 3 HEB 320 HEB 320 140 10 1.09 227.1 148.7 1.53 0.83
2 HD 320 HD 320 140 10 1.10 306.0 165.7 1.85 0.76 2 HEM 240 HEM 240 140 10 1.00 211.5 141.3 1.50 0.74
158 158 1 HEM 260 HEM 260 150 10 1.00 150.0 137.9 1.09 0.73
1 HD 360 HD 320 140 10 1.00 203.7 161.1 1.26 0.71
179 158

ones that were found to be weak in the rst (a) tables may arise. This
- For n different loading distributions, considering the global and n shows that with the RSBD method, cases where the reinforcement
local plastic mechanisms computation of n glob,i and loc,i parameter causes the weak storey occurrence to shift to another storey can be suc-
pairs. Computation of the br,i load multipliers of the braces for n cessfully prevented. The nal reinforced designs comply (or very closely
local mechanisms. comply) with the RSBD requirements of Eqs. (8) and (12). On the other
- Strengthening of the braces to respect the second criterion of the hand, they strongly violate the uniformity condition given in Eq. (1).
RSBD method. Attention is to be paid that the modication of one Nevertheless, the response of every building provides lot slimmer fam-
brace does not only change the corresponding local load multiplier ilies of curves than of the original designs, see Figs. 23 and 7. This indi-
and the Brace Participation Ratio of that oor, but also all the global cates that a favourable, well-distributed dissipative behaviour is
multipliers and all other BPRi in the same time. realised with the redesign. These RSBD designs are also adequate,
- Strengthening of the columns or introduction of more continuous early failure is not observed; in fact, the buildings tend to be a lot better
columns in the building to satisfy the rst condition. performing than necessary, reaching failure at elevated scale factors.
The failure typically occurs on the rst and second oors in the form
of rapid increase of the storey drifts. This, however, is not weak storey
The procedure is by nature iterative and requires usually 23 or a collapse in the terminology of the present article as it is not preceded
few iterations to converge to an efcient seismic-resistant design. In by weak storey behaviour. It is a regular load bearing capacity issue.
the case of very different BPRi, signicant strengthening of the braces It can also be observed that the RSBD method equally enhances the
is needed. Due to the explicit and linear nature of the equations in the performance of type 1 (CBF-CBF) and type 2 (CBF-MRF) CBFs and of
rst-order analysis, the redesign can be carried out by hand calculations. the building with mass irregularity too. Apart from these detailed exam-
ples, similar results were obtained for every other building listed in
7.4. Performance of reinforced CBFs Table 1. In the following, a comprehensive summarised evaluation on
the efciency of the RSBD method, considering every CBF, will be given.
In the following, both the original Eurocode 8 designs and the rede-
signs will be presented in tables in conjunction with the IDA diagrams 7.5. Evaluation of the efciency of the RSBD method
that describe their seismic performance. In the tables, the cross section
of the internal and the external columns and the braces are listed. This So far the IDA diagrams of the original EC8 designs have been found
is followed by the storey overstrength factors, , the load multipliers to be signicantly broader than the ones of the redesigns. This broad-
of the local and the global mechanisms, the ratio of this two and the ness can be described numerically for the sake of a better comparison.
BPR results. In the Tables 4 to 9, the results that substantially differ It is appealing to consider the difference between the maxima and the
from the corresponding requirements are highlighted in bold letters. minima of the IDR results, but it may also be necessary to distinguish
Also, the reinforced cross sections and the maximum and minimum cases where the curves scatter out like a fan and when only one agrant
BPR are with bold letters in the tables. curve results in the large difference. The IDR results of the oors for a
Looking at the tables, it can be seen that both the relation of the load given scale factor can be considered as values of a discrete random var-
multipliers and the BPR results remarkably indicate the existence of the iable, the scatter of which can be described by the standard deviation
weak storeys right where they can be observed in the diagrams of Fig. 7. (hereinafter ). As in a low scale factor range, the broadness may not
The reinforcement is mostly necessitated on the upper oors. As the re- be developed, and in a high range, the results may be distorted by the
inforcement of the braces of any oor increases the global load multipli-
er, during the redesign process, the need of reinforcing oors below the
Table 9a
Table 8a
CBF81M-EC8 Storey Int.col. Ext.col. Brace loc glob loc BPR

Storey Int.col. Ext.col. Brace loc glob loc BPR
10 HEA 160 HEA 160 100 5 0.98 425.2 793.0 0.54 0.45
9 HEB 180 HEA 180 100 8 1.00 332.7 417.4 0.80 0.62
8 HEA 180 HEA 160 100 5 1.00 365.9 560.7 0.65 0.54 8 HEB 220 HEB 200 100 10 1.00 281.2 293.7 0.96 0.68
7 HEB 200 HEA 200 100 8 1.08 301.9 299.0 1.01 0.76 7 HEB 240 HEB 220 120 10 1.11 279.1 233.2 1.20 0.84
6 HEB 240 HEB 200 100 10 1.03 231.7 213.6 1.08 0.77 6 HEB 280 HEB 260 120 10 1.02 235.5 198.2 1.19 0.76
5 HEB 260 HEB 240 140 7.1 1.02 209.9 172.5 1.22 0.78 5 HEB 300 HEB 280 140 10 1.07 233.1 176.2 1.32 0.85
4 HEB 300 HEB 280 120 10 1.02 209.7 152.9 1.37 0.79 4 HEM 240 HEB 320 140 10 1.01 209.5 161.8 1.29 0.77
3 HEB 320 HEB 320 140 10 1.09 227.1 140.9 1.61 0.88 3 HEM 240 HEM 240 140 12.5 1.09 224.4 152.5 1.47 0.88
2 HEM 240 HEM 240 140 10 1.00 211.5 133.9 1.58 0.78 2 HEM 260 HEM 260 140 12.5 1.03 203.3 146.9 1.38 0.79
1 HEM 260 HEM 260 150 10 1.00 150.0 130.6 1.15 0.77 1 HEM 280 HD320 198 150 12.5 0.98 142.3 144.2 0.99 0.70
D.B. Merczel et al. / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 125 (2016) 142163 159

Table 9b

Storey Int.col. Ext.col. Brace loc glob loc BPR


10 HEA 160 HEB 220 100 10 1.94 1000.5 986.5 1.01 0.75
9 HEB 180 HEB 220 100 10 1.27 580.1 519.2 1.12 0.71
8 HEB 220 HEB 200 110 10 1.19 380.9 365.4 1.04 0.75
7 HEB 240 HEB 220 120 10 1.06 296.1 290.2 1.02 0.73
6 HEB 280 HEB 260 120 10 1.02 262.6 246.6 1.06 0.72
5 HEB 300 HEB 280 140 10 1.03 253.4 219.2 1.16 0.78
HEM 240
HEM 240
HEB 320
HEM 240
140 10
150 10

2 HEM 260 HEM 260 140 12.5 1.03 223.2 182.7 1.22 0.78
1 HEM 280 HD320 198 150 12.5 1.00 184.0 179.4 1.03 0.76

Fig. 24. Determination of the broadness and robustness coefcients.

4.5 4.5
St4 St6
Interstorey drift ratio [%]

Interstorey drift ratio [%]

4.0 St3 4.0 St5
St2 St4
3.5 3.5 St3
3.0 3.0 St1
2.5 2.5
2.0 2.0
1.5 1.5
1.0 1.0
0.5 0.5
0.0 0.0
0.00 0.25 0.50 0.75 1.00 1.25 1.50 1.75 2.00 0.00 0.25 0.50 0.75 1.00 1.25 1.50 1.75 2.00
Scale factor of PGA Scale factor of PGA
a) b)
4.5 4.5
St8 St8
Interstorey drift ratio [%]

Interstorey drift ratio [%]

4.0 St7 4.0

St6 St6
3.5 St5 3.5 St5
St4 St4
3.0 3.0 St3
2.5 St2 2.5 St2
St1 St1
2.0 2.0
1.5 1.5
1.0 1.0
0.5 0.5
0.0 0.0
0.00 0.25 0.50 0.75 1.00 1.25 1.50 1.75 2.00 0.00 0.25 0.50 0.75 1.00 1.25 1.50 1.75 2.00
Scale factor of PGA Scale factor of PGA
c) d)
4.5 St8 4.5
Interstorey drift ratio [%]

Interstorey drift ratio [%]

4.0 4.0 St9

St6 St8
3.5 St5 3.5 St7
St4 St6
3.0 St3 3.0 St5
2.5 St2 2.5 St4
St1 St3
2.0 2.0 St2
1.5 1.5
1.0 1.0
0.5 0.5
0.0 0.0
0.00 0.25 0.50 0.75 1.00 1.25 1.50 1.75 2.00 0.00 0.25 0.50 0.75 1.00 1.25 1.50 1.75 2.00
Scale factor of PGA Scale factor of PGA
e) f)
Fig. 23. IDA diagrams of reinforced CBFs (a) CBF41-RSBD, (b) CBF61-RSBD, (c) CBF81-RSBD, (d) CBF82-RSBD, (e) CBF81M-RSBD, (f) CBF101-RSBD.
160 D.B. Merczel et al. / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 125 (2016) 142163

Broadness Coefficient Robustness Coefficient

1.40% 0.50%
1.20% RSBD 0.40% RSBD

0.60% 0.20%

0.00% 0.00%
41 61 81 101 42 62 82 102 61M 81M 41 61 81 101 42 62 82 102 61M 81M

a) b)

Fig. 25. Broadness and robustness coefcients of various CBFs. (a) Broadness coefcient. (b) Robustness coefcient.

asymptotic curves corresponding to attained collapse; this analysis is In Fig. 25, the broadness and robustness coefcients obtained both
conned to the 0.751.25 scale factor interval. To represent the broad- for EC8 and RSBD design are presented in two bar charts. As it can be
ness of the numerous IDA curves, the mean of all the standard devia- seen, the broadness of the Eurocode 8 designs increases with the build-
tions in this interval is computed. This way the broadness is expressed ing height, whereas with the RSBD method the broadness is kept in an
by one number, hereinafter referred to as the broadness coefcient interval of 0.30.5% IDR for every CBF. Also, the EC 8 designs can barely
that is in IDR unit, see Fig. 24. show such a good performance; the broadness of the EC8 designs most-
An important characteristic of the RSBD method is that it provides ly exceed 0.6% and may go beyond substantial 1.2% IDR. The robustness
CBF designs that reliably resist earthquakes within their design intensity chart shows that the EC8 designs do not only have broader IDA curves
range without sensitivity to any particularity of the acceleration record. but they are also more sensitive to the particularities of the excitation.
This can be demonstrated by quantifying the sensitivity, or in other The robustness of the EC8 originals is at least 0.20%, but it goes a lot
words, the robustness of the designs. To describe the robustness of the higher up in some cases, while all the RSBD redesigns stay in the 0.1
obtained results, for a given scale factor, the scatter of the broadness 0.16% range. This demonstrates that the RSBD method indeed reliably
for every accelerogram shall be taken. If this scatter is small, so the broad- provides seismic-resistant CBFs. This reliability compelled the authors
ness is the same for every earthquake, then the response of the examined to give the developed method the Robust Seismic Brace Design name.
CBF is not sensitive to variations of the excitation, and it is robust. The
broadness has been calculated with the standard deviation before and 8. Conclusions
to compute the scatter of these results; again the of these standard de-
viations is taken for every considered scale factor. The mean of the latter The objective of this article was to investigate the susceptibility of
is another number in IDR unit describing the robustness of the CBF Eurocode 8 CBF designs to exhibit weak storey behaviour when subject-
seismic response; therefore, it is called robustness coefcient. ed to seismic action, to determine the reasons of this behaviour, and to

Fig. A.1. GiuffrMenegottoPinto constitutive law.

D.B. Merczel et al. / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 125 (2016) 142163 161

provide a solution in design that can prevent the occurrence of storey Although the RSBD method is suitable for simple hand calculation,
and partial mechanisms. The introduction of the structure-specic its formulae, especially in the second-order analysis form presented in
rules of EC8 has been followed by the detailed description of CBF designs the appendix, may be considered a bit complex. Therefore, in order to
and their models for nonlinear dynamic analyses. introduce the method in a seismic design code utilised by practitioners,
The performance of the designs has been evaluated with the use of it needs further simplication. Such simplication is possible and to
IDA curves. While investigating the reasons of the weak storey behav- some extent already elaborated in [38].
iour, its development, along with the fundamental change of the
modal behaviour and the involvement in the lateral resistance of the Appendix A. GiuffrMenegottoPinto constitutive law
columns, has been directly related to the plastic deterioration of the
braces. The experiences of this rst half of the article led to the recogni- For the appropriate description of the real dissipative behaviour,
tion of the factors that contribute to the development of weak storeys a constitutive model that accurately represents the cyclic dissipation
and some weaknesses of the EC8 requirements. These are summarised shall be used. For steel members in a one-dimensional stressstrain
briey below: state, the use of the GiuffrMenegottoPinto law is in common
practice. This model provides a smooth, curved transition between
- The EC8 CBFs are mostly prone to exhibit weak storey behaviour. the elastic and plastic branches. Furthermore, kinematic hardening
- The likelihood of the weak storey behaviour increases with the sto- and the Bauschinger effect are taken into consideration. The rela-
rey number. tionship between the stress and the deformation is written as
- The susceptibility to exhibit weak storey behaviour can be analysed follows:
independently of the design seismic intensity as the magnitude of
the weak storey phenomenon is not necessarily proportional to the 1b
b  1=R A:1
intensity. 1 R
- Attempted reinforcement of the buildings without accurate analysis
may not yield better seismic performance. This shows also that the r
weak storey behaviour is not simply the lack of resistance on some A:2
0 r
- The brace deterioration causes a signicant drop of the lateral stiff- r
ness of the storey that it is located on, and this fundamentally affects 0 r
the response of the structure. The modied modal behaviour con-
tributes to the development of the weak storey; such effects are 0 and 0 dene the point which is the intersection of the tangent of
not considered in any way in Eurocode 8. the initial elastic branch and the tangent of the asymptotic branch de-
- The interconnected plastic deformations, brace deterioration, and scribing the yield, see Fig. A.1. r and r dene the point of the last
change of dynamic response together create a loop that may amplify load reversal. The inclination of the hardening branch is dened by
the weak storey behaviour. the ratio of the initial (E0) and the hardening (Eh) modulus of elasticity:
- The incipient elastic behaviour that the Eurocode 8 design procedure
refers to is signicantly different from the inelastic behaviour. Eh
b A:4
- The uniformity condition, Eq. (1), is not adequate to promote the E0
global dissipation as it cannot be in any inelastic state that the struc-
ture may undergo during the seismic excitation. The curved transition between the two branches is dened by R in
- The analysis with a perfect structural model leads to the underesti- Eq. (A.1). In case of cyclic response, after each reversal the curvature re-
mation of the bending of the columns that develops with the deteri- duces with the previous plastic excursion, , according to the following
oration of the braces. expressions:

A1 n
Rn R0 A:5
A2 n
The observations above have been considered in the development of
the new Robust Seismic Brace Design method. The method gives two r;n r;n1
criteria that are intended to replace the existing inadequate require- r;n r;n1
ments in Eurocode 8. As the method is independent of the seismic inten- n A:6
0;n r;n
sity, it needs to be conducted along with the basic EC8 provisions. The
rst requirement of the redesign method, imposed on the global and where R0 is the value of the curvature in the rst loading, A1 and A2
local load multipliers, aims to avoid the storey collapse before realising are material dependent parameters. The applied set of material param-
plastic deformations in all designated dissipative members, i.e., the eters is [15]: E0 = 210 GPa, Eh = 2.1 GPa, fy = 235 MPa, = 0.3, R1 = 20,
braces. The requirements concerning the Brace Performance Ratios pro- A1 = 18.5, A2 = 0.15, where fy and denote the yield stress and the
vide a well-balanced distribution of the dissipation so that prominent Poisson's ratio, respectively.
interstorey drifts do not impair the seismic performance of the CBF.
The presented buildings, that satisfy the two requirements of the Appendix B. Second-order RSBD formulation
RSBD method but violate the uniformity condition (1) of Eurocode 8,
are adequate and exhibit a favourable dissipation without exception. In order to take into account the second-order work of the gravity
In the redesigned CBFs, weak storeys are not observed, and early col- forces on the vertical shortening, assuming that the lateral drifts are
lapse is not attained; in fact, most CBFs show a signicantly higher resis- not innitesimal, Eq. (15) is modied as follows:
tance than the demand. The reinforced buildings are also robust, not
showing sensitivity to the differences between acceleration records of B2 2
the same spectrum. The RSBD method is also capable of providing ro- H H A:7
2H 2
bust CBF designs independently of the examined storey numbers, struc-
tural models, and mass irregularities. Therefore, the use of the RSBD It is also assumed that in the considered moderate, but not innites-
method in seismic design is recommended to reinforce and enhance imal range of lateral displacements the principle of constant stresses is
concentrically braced steel frames. applicable. Consequently, the internal forces are constant. To include
162 D.B. Merczel et al. / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 125 (2016) 142163

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