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Seismic performance of ductile and nominally

ductile reinforced concrete moment resisting


frames. I. Experimental study
Andr Filiatrault, ric Lachapelle, and Patrick Lamontagne
Abstract: This paper is the first of two companion papers on the evaluation of the level of protection offered by ductile and
nominally ductile reinforced concrete structures in Canada. In this paper, the seismic behaviour of two half-scale reinforced
concrete moment resisting frames is investigated by shake table tests. In the second paper, the experimental results obtained
from the shake table tests are compared with the results generated from inelastic time-history dynamic analyses. Each frame
had two bays and two storeys with overall dimensions of 5 m in width and 3 m in height. The first structure was designed as a
ductile frame according to current Canadian standards; and the second structure incorporated only nominally ductile details.
Two levels of intensity were retained for the historical ground motion used in the tests. The first level was representative of
the design earthquake considered; the amplitudes were doubled for the second intensity. The ductile structure performed well
during both tests. The frame with nominal ductility performed well during the first test, but was on the verge of collapse after
the second test. Based on these experimental results, recommendations are presented to harmonize the seismic protection of
ductile and nominally ductile reinforced concrete frames in Canada.
Key words: moment resisting frames, earthquakes, reinforced concrete, seismic, shake table.
Rsum : Cet article est le premier de deux sur lvaluation du niveau de protection sismique des ossatures noeuds rigides
en bton arm au Canada. Cet article prsente les rsultats dessais sur table vibrante de deux ossatures noeuds rigides,
chelle une-demie, en bton arm. Les rsultats exprimentaux sont compars aux prdictions danalyses dynamiques
non-linaires dans le deuxime article. Chaque ossature tait compose de deux traves et de deux tages ayant cinq mtres de
largeur et trois mtres de hauteur. La premire structure consistait en une conception ductile selon les normes Canadiennes
actuelles. La deuxime structure incorporait des dtails darmature en vue de lui assurer une ductilit nominale. Deux niveaux
dintensit ont t retenus pour lexcitation historique la base. Le premier niveau tait reprsentatif du sisme de calcul
utilis, alors que les amplitudes furent doubles pour le deuxime niveau dintensit. Lossature ductile sest bien comporte
durant les deux essais. Lossature ductilit nominale sest bien comporte pour le sisme de calcul, mais tait prs de la ruine
la suite du deuxime essai. En se basant sur ces rsultats exprimentaux, des recommandations sont prsentes afin
duniformiser la protection sismique dossatures ductiles et ductilit nominale en bton arm au Canada.
Mots cls : bton arm, ossatures, sismique, table vibrante, tremblements de terre.
Introduction
The seismic design lateral loads and the level of seismic rein-
forcement detailing to be incorporated in a reinforced concrete
moment resisting framed structure in Canada depend on its
available ductility capacity. In ductile moment resisting
frames, the design lateral loads are reduced significantly, but
high ductility capacity is ensured by strict detailing require-
ments to avoid premature brittle failure modes. For frames
with nominal ductility, the design loads are higher, but very
little seismic reinforcement detailing is required. According to
the seismic design philosophy of the National Building Code
of Canada (NBCC 1995), both approaches should offer the
same level of seismic protection against the design earthquake
at the construction site.
The determination of the design earthquake at a given site
is associated with a high degree of uncertainty (Heidebrecht
1995). Attenuation relations for peak ground horizontal accel-
eration, for example, include aleatory uncertainty charac-
terized by the standard deviation in a log-normal distribution.
Typical attenuation relations yield standard deviation up to
0.30 in a log-normal plane (Heidebrecht 1996). This means
that 68% of the seismic data used to construct such an attenu-
ation relation are within a factor of 2 of the median value used
to define the design earthquake at a site. Considering these
very large uncertainties associated with the design earthquake,
it is questionable that the levels of protection offered by ductile
and nominally ductile structures are indeed the same.
The objective of this experimental investigation is to con-
tribute to the evaluation of the level of protection offered by
Received April 10, 1997.
Revised manuscript accepted August 25, 1997.
A. Filiatrault. EPICENTRE Research Group, cole
Polytechnique, Universit de Montral Campus, P.O. Box 6079,
Station Centre-Ville, Montreal, QC H3C 3A7, Canada.
. Lachapelle. Calculatec Inc., 4455 St-Hubert Street,
Montreal, QC H3L 4M3, Canada.
P. Lamontagne. Shector Barkacki Shemie & Associates, 1550
deMaisonneuve Boulevard W., Montreal, QC H3G 1N2,
Canada.
Written discussion of this article is welcomed and will be
received by the Editor until August 31, 1998 (address inside
front cover).
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ductile and nominally ductile reinforced concrete structures in
Canada. For this purpose, shake table tests of two half-scale
reinforced concrete moment resisting frames, designed ac-
cording to current Canadian standards, were performed on the
earthquake simulation facility at cole Polytechnique in Mont-
real and are reported in this first paper. A companion paper
(Filiatrault et al. 1998) compares these experimental results
with the predictions of inelastic time-history dynamic analy-
ses.
Design and description of test structures
Design procedure
The two test structures considered in this investigation were
designed, at their reduced scale, according to the provisions of
the National Building Code of Canada (NBCC 1995) and of
the Canadian concrete standard (CSA 1994). Each structure
was assumed to be part of the lateral load resisting system of a
building, with two storeys (each 1.5 m high) and two bays
(each 2.5 m wide) located in a seismic zone 4 in Canada (Z
a
= Z
v
= 4). The geometry of the structures was chosen to allow
the simultaneous seismic performance evaluation of interior
and exterior beam-column assemblies. The various assump-
tions and parameters used in the design of the two structures
are listed in Table 1. The design base shear, V, specified by the
NBCC for each structure is given by
[1] V =
V
e
U
R
where V
e
is the required base shear if the structure would re-
main elastic under the design earthquake, U is a calibration
factor equal to 0.6, and R is a force reduction factor which
depends on the ductility capacity of the lateral load resisting
system. For the ductile structure, R is equal to 4; and for the
structure with nominal ductility, R is assigned a value of 2.
The use of R = 4 for the ductile structure was justified by
implementing the strict seismic detailing requirements con-
tained in the Canadian concrete standard (CSA 1994). The
structure with nominal ductility (R = 2), on the other hand,
incorporated only nominal detailing, according also to the Ca-
nadian concrete standard, since its design lateral loads were
higher than the ductile structure and, according to the seismic
design philosophy of the NBCC, the ductility demand by the
design earthquake should be limited.
Description of the test structures
The two reinforced concrete moment resisting frames consid-
ered in the shake table investigation are shown in Fig. 1. For
both frames, all longitudinal reinforcement was made of con-
tinuous standard 10M bars (11.1 mm diameter). Undeformed
steel wires, 3 and 6 mm in diameter, were used as transverse
reinforcement. A concrete clear cover of 15 mm was incorpo-
rated in all members. Table 2 presents the material properties
obtained from tensile tests on the reinforcing steel and from
compressive tests on concrete cylinders.
The dimensions and the longitudinal reinforcement of the
beams are similar for both structures, as they were designed
for the same gravity loads (Lachapelle 1997; Lamontagne
1997). The column sizes and longitudinal reinforcement, how-
ever, are very different for both structures. The flexural
strength of the columns for the ductile frame (R = 4) is based
on the flexural capacity of the associated framing beams ac-
cording to the weak beams strong columns design philoso-
phy adopted by the Canadian concrete standard (CSA 1994).
Parameters Assumptions
Service loads Dead load on first floor = 3.2 kPa
Dead load on roof = 1.7 kPa
Weight of structural members = 24 kN/m
3
Live load on first floor = 2.4 kPa
Snow load on roof = 2.3 kPa
Wind pressure neglected
Seismic zone: Z
a
= Z
v
= 4
Seismic loads according to eq. [1] with importance and foundation factors I = F = 1
for both structures and R = 4 for the ductile structure and R = 2 for the structure
with nominal ductility
Material properties used in design Concrete: compressive strength, f
c
= 25 MPa
Longitudinal reinforcing steel: yield strength, F
y
= 400 MPa
Transverse reinforcing steel: yield strength, F
y
= 700 MPa
Design base shear V = 19 kN (R = 2)
V = 9 kN (R = 4)
Design and analysis assumptions Tributary width = 3 m
Gravity loads applied as concentrated loads from transverse joists at the 1/3 and 2/3
spans of the beams and at the beam-column joints
Rigid links incorporated for computing internal forces at the columns faces
Rigid links removed for computing lateral deflections
40% of gross inertia used for the beams and 70% of gross inertia used for the columns
Table 1. Design assumptions and parameters.
Can. J. Civ. Eng. Vol. 25, 1998 332
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The columns of the frame with nominal ductility (R = 2) were
designed only to resist the factored loads. The transverse rein-
forcement is also quite different for each structure. The ductile
structure incorporates full seismic details, composed of rectan-
gular hoops, with 135 hooks, spaced at 30 mm on centre in
critical locations of the beams, columns, and joints. The spac-
ing of the hoops in the structure with nominal ductility is larger
(65 mm on centre in the columns and 60 mm in the beams)
except in the beams near the column faces where the spacing
is reduced to 30 mm, according to the provisions of the Cana-
dian concrete standard (CSA 1994).
One important aspect of the design of beam-column joints
is the development length of the longitudinal reinforcement
required to ensure plastic hinges in the beams at the column
faces. This aspect is particularly important for interior beam-
column joints where plastic hinges can develop in opposite
directions on each side of the columns. The longitudinal rein-
forcement is therefore required to develop simultaneously its
probable tensile strength on one side of the joint and its prob-
able compressive strength on the other side of the joint. To
ensure sufficient anchorage, the Canadian concrete standard
(CSA 1994) limits the diameter of the longitudinal reinforce-
ment, d
b
, across an interior beam-column joint of length l
j
as
follows:
[2]
d
b

l
j
20
d
b

l
j
24
for R = 2
for R = 4
Since the standard 10M bars used as longitudinal reinforce-
Fig. 1. Test structures: (a) structure with nominal ductility (R = 2) and (b) ductile structure (R = 4). (All dimension are in millimetres.)
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ment in the test structures did not satisfy the requirements of
[2], sleeves were installed in the interior beam-column joints
as shown in Fig. 2. Each sleeve was made of a hollow 20M bar
in which the longitudinal 10M bars were inserted and plug-
welded on each side. This larger diameter was chosen such that
the same average bond stress of 10 MPa between the concrete
and the steel underlying [2] would develop when the 10M bars
reach their probable tensile and compressive strengths
(Lachapelle 1997; Lamontagne 1997). Filler rings were in-
serted around the 10Mbars at both ends of each sleeve to avoid
bearing between the concrete and the sleeve. Preliminary ten-
sile tests of the sleevebar assembly confirmed the sufficient
strength of the welds. The anchorage of the longitudinal rein-
forcement in the exterior beam-column joints was achieved by
concrete end blocks and 180 hooks as shown in Fig. 2.
Shake table test program
Experimental setup
The seismic tests were performed on the earthquake simulation
facility at cole Polytechnique in Montreal (Filiatrault et al.
1996). Figure 3 shows a photograph of the structure with
nominal ductility (R = 2) ready for testing on the shake table.
The frame was secured to the earthquake simulator by a
500 mm deep foundation beam anchored to the top plate of the
shake table. This foundation beam, in which the columns of the
frames were anchored, was designed to remain within the ten-
sile strength of concrete under the full flexural and shear
strength of the base columns of the structure. Note that this
foundation beam (5 m) is longer than the shake table (3.4 m)
such that the structure overhangs on both sides.
The mass of the structure was provided by four concrete
blocks attached at the 1/3 and 2/3 points of the span of each
beam to simulate concentrated gravity loads from framing
joists. The geometry of each block was an inverted U-shape
such that its centre of mass could coincide with the centre of
gravity of the beam. In this way, overturning effects above the
floor levels could be eliminated. The total weight of each
frame, excluding the foundation beam, was 95 kN. This weight
corresponds to 100% of the design dead load. Because of pay-
load limitations, no live load could be added. To avoid out-of-
plane motion of the structures during the seismic tests, a rigid
lateral steel bracing system was installed on the shake table
around each floor. This system incorporated vertical columns,
horizontal beams, and horizontal bracing members. Roller
bearings were installed between each concrete block and each
horizontal steel beam to ensure a frictionless lateral motion of
the structure.
Instrumentation
A variety of instruments were used to monitor the behaviour of
the two structures during the seismic tests. Displacement
transducers were used to measure the absolute horizontal dis-
placements of the shake table and of the floor levels. The dis-
placements of the floors, relative to the shake table, could then
be obtained by subtracting the shake table displacement from
the floor displacements. The vertical deflections of the first
floor beams, under the loading points of the concrete blocks,
were also measured using displacement transducers. Acceler-
ometers were used to record the shake table and floor levels
absolute horizontal acceleration time-histories. A total of 18
strain gauges were installed on the longitudinal reinforcement
of the beams and columns, near the beam-column joints, and
at the base of the first floor columns, where severe inelastic
deformations were expected to occur.
Five video cameras were used to record the tests. One cam-
era was located outside the shake table to record the general
behaviour of the structures. Four other cameras were installed
on the shake table to record the relative motion of the interior
and exterior beam-column joints and base columns. The crack-
ing pattern was marked and photographed after each test.
Selection of earthquake ground motion
The ensemble of historical earthquake accelerograms consid-
ered by Filiatrault et al. (1994) for the city of Vancouver (Z
a
= Z
v
= 4) was used as input for preliminary linear spectral
analyses (Clough and Penzien 1993) of both structures. Based
on these analyses, the N04W component of the accelerogram
recorded in Olympia, Washington, during the April 13, 1949,
Western Washington earthquake was chosen as the base mo-
tion input for the seismic tests. Figure 4 presents the accelera-
tion time-history of this seismic event. The peak horizontal
acceleration (PHA) is 0.16g and the peak horizontal velocity
(PHV) is 0.21 m/s. The strong motion duration is around 30 s
with a total duration of 89 s. The accelerogram was scaled to a
PHA value of 0.21g for the first test (intensity 1) and to 0.42g
for the second test (intensity 2).
Experimental results
Preliminary system identification tests
The dynamic characteristics of the model frames were esti-
mated from impact tests and from free vibration tests. For the
impact tests, each frame was excited manually by repetitive
horizontal hammerings at the top floor. A dedicated ambient
vibration analysis software (Experimental Dynamic Investiga-
tions 1993) was used to determine the natural periods of the
structure from power spectral density plots of the absolute
floor horizontal displacement records. In the free-vibration
tests, the structure was excited manually at its first natural
period. When a steady-state response was obtained, the input
Material Properties
Longitudinal reinforcing Youngs modulus, E = 224 600 MPa
steel Yield strength, F
y
= 438 MPa
Yield strain, e
y
= 0.00195
Tensile strength, F
u
= 601 MPa
Ultimate strain, e
u
= 0.199
Transverse reinforcing steel Yield strength, F
y
= 750 MPa
Tensile strength, F
u
= 900 MPa
Concrete for structure with
nominal ductility (R = 2)
Youngs modulus, E = 25 200 MPa
Compressive strength, f
c
= 31 MPa
Poissons ratio, = 0.17
Concrete for ductile
structure (R = 4)
Youngs modulus, E = 22 800 MPa
Compressive strength, f
c
= 26 MPa
Poissons ratio, = 0.16
Table 2. Actual material properties of test structures.
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was suddenly stopped and the floor relative displacements
were recorded. The first modal damping ratio of the structure
was then established by the logarithmic relative displacement
decrement at each floor (Clough and Penzien 1993).
The fundamental periods were measured at 0.36 and 0.28 s
for the R = 2 and the R = 4 frame, respectively. The fundamen-
tal period of the structure with nominal ductility (R = 2) cor-
responds approximately to the period of two-storey reinforced
Fig. 2. Details of beam-column joints of test structures.
Fig. 3. Structure with nominal ductility (R = 2) on shake table.
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concrete moment resisting frames as specified in the 1995 edi-
tion of the NBCC (0.36 s for storey height of 4 m). The applied
loading in the tests was, therefore, representative of actual field
conditions. The fundamental period of the ductile structure (R =
4) was shorter because of the increased lateral stiffness caused
by larger columns required to satisfy the weak beams strong
columns design philosophy. First modal damping ratios of
3.3% and 3.0% were measured for the R = 2 and the R = 4
frame, respectively. These values are typical for reinforced
concrete framed building structures.
Shake table performance
One critical aspect of shake table testing is the ability of the
electronic control system to reproduce accurately the desired
ground motion input. Figure 5 compares the absolute accelera-
tion response spectra, at 5% damping, of the accelerogram of
Fig. 4 (desired signal) with the response spectra of the accel-
eration time-histories recorded on the shake table (feedback
signal). These results were obtained from the tests on the R =
2 structure (intensities 1 and 2).
As discussed later, the natural period of the test frames
varied between 0.28 and 0.76 s at various stages of testing. For
this period range, the mean difference between the desired and
the feedback spectral values is 8.5% for the first intensity, and
2.8% for the second intensity. For the same period range, the
maximum absolute difference is 16.6%. Considering the se-
vere inelastic response of the structures during the seismic
tests, the shake table performance can be considered adequate.
General behaviour and cracking patterns
Figure 6 illustrates the cracking patterns for both structures
after each test. The ductile structure (R = 4) behaved, during
both tests, according to the capacity design philosophy pro-
moted by the Canadian concrete standard. The structure had
reserve ductility at the end of the second test. Plastic hinges
and flexural cracking occurred in the beams, near the column
faces, and at the base of the first floor columns. No crack was
observed in the columns below and above the beam-column
joints. During the first test (intensity 1), column cracking was
concentrated at the base of the central column. This column
was stiffer than the exterior columns and attracted most of the
bending moments until a full plastic hinge developed. During
the second test (intensity 2), flexural cracking migrated to the
base of the exterior columns. Diagonal cracks occurred in one
direction only in the exterior beam-column joints, suggesting
that the negative dead load end moments were not overcome
by the positive end moments induced by the seismic loads.
The structure with nominal ductility (R = 2) behaved well
during the first test. Flexural cracking occurred mainly in the
beams near the column faces and at the base of the three col-
umns. During the second test, however, large horizontal cracks
occurred at the top of all first floor columns underneath the
beam-column joints. This cracking pattern suggested that a full
plastic column-sway mechanismhad formed in the first storey,
thereby compromising the lateral stability of the structure. If
the earthquake accelerogram had a longer strong motion dura-
tion or a higher intensity, the structure would have eventually
collapsed.
The flexural cracking pattern observed on each structure is
localized within half the effective depth of the members at the
ends of the beams and the columns. The distances on which
the seismic confinement detailing was incorporated (see
Fig. 1) could have been reduced without adverse effects on the
seismic behaviour of the test structures. In particular, it was
unnecessary to confine the full height of the first floor columns
of the ductile structure.
Strain ductility in the longitudinal reinforcement
Figure 7 presents the distribution of strain ductility in the lon-
gitudinal reinforcing bars instrumented by strain gauges. For a
given cross section, the maximum strain ductility,
s
, was ob-
tained by
[3]
s
=
e
max
e
y
where e
max
is the maximum recorded tensile strain in all bars
instrumented at a given cross section and e
y
is the measured
yield strain of the longitudinal steel, as given in Table 2.
For the first intensity, the distribution of strain ductility is
similar for both structures. Only the longitudinal reinforce-
ment in the beams, near the column faces, and at the base of
the columns suffered inelastic tensile strains. The columns lon-
Fig. 4. Accelerogram for the N04W component of the ground motion recorded in Olympia,Washington, during the April 13, 1949, Western
Washington earthquake.
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gitudinal bars, below the first floor beam-column joints, re-
mained in the elastic range of the steel.
For the second intensity, however, the distribution of strain
ductility is very different for the two frames. For the ductile
structure (R = 4), the cross sections exhibiting inelastic behav-
iour were the same as for the first intensity. Only the maximum
strains increased in each cross section. For the structure with
nominal ductility (R = 2), the longitudinal bars in the first floor
columns, below the beam-column joints, experienced signifi-
cant inelastic tensile strains. Again, it is clear that a complete
column-sway mechanism had formed in the first floor.
Peak response parameters
Table 3 shows the peak response parameters recorded during
the seismic tests on the two structures. The National Building
Code of Canada (NBCC 1995) limits the inelastic inter-storey
drift at 2% of the storey height for a building of normal impor-
tance. The ductile structure (R = 4) meets this requirement
under the design level earthquake (intensity 1) and slightly
exceeds it during the second test at twice the ground motion
amplitudes. This reserve stiffness exhibited by the ductile
structure is due to the application of the capacity design con-
cept, which causes the columns to increase in size and stiffness
to meet the weak beams strong columns design philosophy.
The structure with nominal ductility also respects the inter-
storey drift requirement for the first test. During the second
test, however, the formation of a plastic column-sway mecha-
nism in the first floor caused a very large inter-storey drift
(4.67%) in the first floor. This level of deformations would be
detrimental to nonstructural and architectural elements of a
real building.
The floor acceleration amplification for both structures var-
ies between 1.23 and 4.30, which is typical of lightly damped
systems under ground motion excitations. The amplifications
during the second test are less than those during the first one.
This result is expected, as severe inelastic deformations in the
structures during the second test cause the structural damping
to increase. Also, amplifications exhibited by the frame with
nominal ductility are less than the amplifications in the ductile
structure. The nominally ductile frame experiences more se-
vere inelastic deformations than the ductile frame, thereby in-
creasing the damping and limiting the acceleration amplification.
Although the ductile structure was designed for a level of
lateral loads much smaller than the structure with nominal duc-
tility, it developed larger base shear coefficients. This phe-
nomenon is, again, a result of capacity design. Even if smaller
seismic lateral loads were used for the design of the ductile
structure, the strength of the columns far exceeds the effects
of the factored loads to respect the weak beams strong col-
umns design philosophy. As a result, the lateral strength de-
veloped by the ductile structure is larger than that by the
structure with nominal ductility.
Fig. 5. Absolute acceleration response spectra, at 5% damping, of the reference and feedback shake table acceleration time-histories from the
tests on the R = 2 structure.
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The vertical deflection ratios experienced by the first floor
beams are similar for both structures. During the first test, the
vertical deflections of the beams are well below the service-
ability limit state considered by the Canadian concrete stand-
ard for building floors (L/360, where L is the clear span of the
beam). For the second tests, however, this limit is exceeded.
Current Canadian seismic provisions do not address the verti-
cal deflections of beams during an earthquake. This aspect
should be considered, particularly if positive plastic hinging
occur along the beam spans causing a shake down phenome-
non.
Lateral stiffness degradation
The system identification tests described earlier were repeated
after each seismic test to assess the variation of the dynamic
characteristics of the frames. Table 4 presents the variations of
the fundamental period, first mode damping ratio, and lateral
stiffness ratio for each structure at various stages of testing.
Fig. 6. Cracking patterns of test structures after seismic tests.
Fig. 7. Distribution of strain ductility in longitudinal reinforcement.
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The results are similar for both structures. After the first
test, the fundamental period of each structure has increased by
a factor of 1.5. The corresponding decrease in lateral stiffness
is more than 50%. At the end of the second test, the fundamen-
tal period of each structure had more than doubled, thereby
reducing the lateral stiffness by more than 75%. These results
are significant when considering the behaviour of real build-
ings to aftershocks or future earthquakes.
The first modal damping ratio varies between 3.0% and
4.8%for both structures. These values are typical of reinforced
concrete structures at levels of excitation causing yielding in
the reinforcing steel.
Hysteretic behaviour
The global hysteretic behaviour of each structure, in terms of
base shear top floor relative displacement loops, is presented
in Fig. 8. The experimental base shear time-histories were ob-
tained by the summation of the inertia forces at each floor.
Therefore, the effects of damping forces were neglected in the
base shear calculation.
During the first test (intensity 1), two different effective
lateral stiffness values can be distinguished from the slope of
the hysteresis loops. The first slope corresponds to the stiffness
of the structures when cracking and some modest inelastic
deformations have occurred. The second slope, exhibiting the
largest inelastic excursions, corresponds to the inelastic shear
deformations of the beam-column joints coupled with large
flexural inelastic deformations. These deformations of the
joints are accompanied by the diagonal cracking described ear-
lier. This phenomenon can be observed for both structures, but
is particularly significant for the structure with nominal duc-
tility (R = 2), for which the joint regions are not as confined
by the transverse reinforcement as the joints in the ductile
structure (R = 4).
For the second test, the hysteresis loops of the ductile struc-
ture are stable with no significant pinching. Pinching can be
observed, however, for the structure with nominal ductility.
Also indicated in Fig. 8, are the maximum displacement
ductility factors, , achieved by each structure. The yield dis-
placements used to estimate the ductility factors were obtained
from static pushover analyses, as discussed in the companion
paper (Filiatrault et al. 1998). The ductility factor exhibited by
the ductile structure during the first test (2.21) is much less
than the force reduction factor (R = 4) used for its design.
Again, this can be explained by the fact that the frame was
much stronger than required by the factored loads to meet the
capacity design philosophy. This increased strength caused a
reserve ductility. Even under the intensity 2 earthquake, the
ductile structure exhibited a ductility factor less than 4.
During the first test, the ductility factor for the structure
with nominal ductility was practically equal to the force reduc-
tion factor used for its design (R = 2), and was twice as large
for the second test. This result is, again, consistent, since the
lateral strength of the structure with nominal ductility was es-
tablished from the factored loads only.
Conclusions and recommendations
The shake table tests described in this investigation has pro-
vided an opportunity to contribute toward a better under-
standing of the seismic behaviour of ductile and nominally
ductile reinforced concrete moment resisting framed structures
designed according to current Canadian standards. Based on
the experimental results obtained, the following conclusions
and recommendations are presented to harmonize the level of
seismic protection offered by these two lateral load resisting
systems.
1. The ductile structure (R = 4) performed very well during
the tests, showing that the capacity design philosophy, as ap-
plied in current Canadian standards, is effective. Even for a
seismic event at twice the intensity of the design earthquake,
the ductile structure exhibited a reserve ductility capacity.
2. The structure with nominal ductility (R = 2) performed
as expected under the ground motion intensity corresponding
to the design earthquake at the site. Inelastic deformations
were concentrated mainly in the beams, near the column faces,
and at the base of the columns. For the second test at twice the
intensity, however, a plastic column-sway mechanism oc-
curred in the first floor bringing the structure to the verge of
collapse. Considering the uncertainty related to the design
earthquake, the level of seismic protection offered by this type
of structure can be questioned. Only the incorporation of the
weak beams strong columns design philosophy could ensure
a proper hierarchy of plastic hinging in structures with nominal
ductility.
3. The plastic hinges were localized at the end of the mem-
bers and within 1/2 of their depth. This result suggests that the
distances on which the confinement reinforcement is required
Fundamental
period (s)
First mode
damping ratio
Lateral
stiffness ratio
Testing stage R = 2 R = 4 R = 2 R = 4 R = 2 R = 4
Before intensity 1 0.36 0.28 0.033 0.030 1.00 1.00
After intensity 1 0.55 0.44 0.037 0.039 0.43 0.40
After intensity 2 0.76 0.55 0.042 0.048 0.22 0.26
Table 4. Variations of the dynamic characteristics of the test
structures.
Peak value
Intensity 1 Intensity 2
Parameter R = 2 R = 4 R = 2 R = 4
First floor inter-storey drift
ratio
*
(%)
1.98 1.58 4.67 2.74
Second floor inter-storey
drift ratio (%)
1.28 1.44 1.75 2.23
First floor acceleration
amplification

1.50 2.19 1.23 1.55


Second floor acceleration
amplification

2.63 4.30 1.60 2.45


Base shear coefficient

0.39 0.55 0.47 0.64


First floor beam vertical
deflection ratio

691 694 272 284


*
Inter-storey drift over the storey height times 100.
Floor acceleration over peak table acceleration.

Base shear over weight of the structure (excluding foundation beam).

Span of first floor beams (2500 mm) over peak vertical deflection.
Table 3. Peak response parameters recorded.
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could be reduced. Confining the full height of the first floor
columns could be unnecessary.
4. The beams experienced significant vertical deflections
during the tests. Current Canadian seismic provisions should
address the vertical deflections of beams during earthquakes.
Positive plastic hinging can occur along the beam spans and
trigger a shake down phenomenon.
5. The lateral stiffness of each structure had reduced by
more than 75% at the end of the seismic tests. Procedures to
quickly estimate the residual stiffness of buildings after the
main shock of an earthquake are urgently needed to predict
their responses to aftershocks or future earthquakes.
Acknowledgements
The authors acknowledge the assistance of the Natural Sci-
ences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
and the Fonds pour la formation de chercheurs et laide la
Fig. 8. Global hysteretic behaviour of test structures.
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recherche (FCAR) of Quebec which provided research grants
and a scholarship in support of this project. The assistance of
Dr. Marc Savard of the Quebec Ministry of Transportation,
which supplied a data acquisition system, is also gratefully
acknowledged. The authors wish to express their appreciation
to Anne Blanger, Marie-Claude Janelle, Nick Laganire, Luc-
Andr Taillon, Sylvain Bdard, and Philippe Morin, all under-
graduate research assistants, for their contributions to the
experimental part of the project. Finally, the technical staff of
the Structures Laboratory at cole Polytechnique is sincerely
acknowledged for its invaluable assistance.
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