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Simplified seismic design approach for steel

portal frame piers with hysteretic dampers

Article in Earthquake Engineering & Structural Dynamics April 2007

Impact Factor: 2.31 DOI: 10.1002/eqe.643


14 188

4 authors, including:

Hanbin Ge Akira Kasai

Meijo University Kumamoto University


Available from: Akira Kasai

Retrieved on: 21 April 2016
Earthquake Engng Struct. Dyn. 2007; 36:541562
Published online 5 October 2006 in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com). DOI: 10.1002/eqe.643

Simplified seismic design approach for steel portal frame piers

with hysteretic dampers

Zhiyi Chen1, , Hanbin Ge1, , , Akira Kasai1, and Tsutomu Usami2,

1Department of Civil Engineering, Nagoya University, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya 464-8603, Japan
2 Department of Civil Engineering, Meijo University, 1-501, Shiogamaguchi Tenpaku-ku, Nagoya 468-8502, Japan

A simplified seismic design procedure for steel portal frame piers installed with hysteretic dampers is
proposed, which falls into the scope of performance-based design philosophy. The fundamental goal
of this approach is to design a suite of hysteretic damping devices for existing and new bridge piers,
which will assure a pre-defined target performance against future severe earthquakes. The proposed
procedure is applicable to multi-degree-of-freedom systems, utilizing an equivalent single-degree-of-
freedom methodology with nonlinear response spectra (referred to as strength-demanded spectra) and a
set of formulae of close-form expressions for the distribution of strength and stiffness produced in the
structure by the designed hysteretic damping devices. As an illustrative example, the proposed procedure is
applied to a design of a simple steel bridge pier of portal frame type with buckling-restrained braces (one of
several types of hysteretic dampers). For the steel portal frame piers, an attempt is made to utilize not only
the displacement-based index but also the strain-based index as pre-determined target performance at the
beginning of design. To validate this procedure, dynamic inelastic time-history analyses are performed using
the general-purpose finite element program ABAQUS. The results confirm that the proposed simplified
design procedure attains the expected performance level as specified by both displacement-based and
strain-based indices with sufficient accuracy. Copyright q 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Received 18 December 2005; Revised 31 May 2006; Accepted 17 August 2006

KEY WORDS: simplified seismic design; performance-based design; steel bridge; hysteretic damper;
time-history analysis


Extensive damage during the 1995 Hyogoken-Nanbu Earthquake has since led to widespread
research efforts to improve the performance of steel bridges against future severe earthquakes in

Correspondence to: Hanbin Ge, Department of Civil Engineering, Nagoya University, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya 464-8603,

E-mail: ge@civil.nagoya-u.ac.jp

E-mail: chen@civil.nagoya-u.ac.jp
E-mail: Kasai@civil.nagoya-u.ac.jp
E-mail: usamit@ccmfs.meijo-u.ac.jp

Copyright q 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

542 Z. CHEN ET AL.

Japan. These research efforts include applying hysteretic damping technologies to new bridges or
existing ones and developing performance-based seismic design approaches.
Seismic upgrading methods utilizing hysteretic damping technologies are based on the concept
of replacing some critical components of a structure with hysteretic damping members at points
where notably large strains or deformations are likely to be caused by strong earthquakes. These
members are intended to ensure energy dissipation. During an earthquake, the energy induced will
be dissipated through plastic metal deformation in these members. As a result, the dampers will
sustain the main damage while the main structural members remain in an elastic state or suffer
only limited damage. These energy dissipation members are replaceable after an earthquake and
are sometimes called sacrifice members. The advantages of using hysteretic damping technologies
have long been recognized [14]. The technologies are widely applied in building structures,
however, less work of this kind has been done with steel bridge structures [5, 6].
On the other hand, performance-based seismic design is further advanced. It can be viewed
as a verification method, namely, an assessment process in which a structural system and its
components are evaluated according to whether they can withstand the damage level expected for a
particular scale of earthquake, as summed up in performance objectives. Sometimes, performance
objectives are referred to as required performance, with different requirements laid down for
structural performance under different earthquake intensities. Most past research studies focus on
rigorous approaches, for example, dynamic nonlinear time-history analysis, to assist in subsequent
assessment. However, for simple bridge structures such as bridge piers of a cantilever or portal
frame type, which are commonly used in the urban transportation systems in Japan, direct design
without subsequent assessment is a preferable option to reduce the design work. In this way, several
performance parameters can be pre-defined as expected performance objectives at the beginning
of the design stage.
The main purpose of this study is to bring together these two research topics by proposing a
simple performance-based procedure which is applicable to the design of steel bridge piers with
hysteretic damping devices.
The study is organized as follows: first, a performance-based verification method is reviewed,
in which displacement and strain indices are introduced as parameters for performance evaluation.
Then, a simplified seismic design procedure is presented, which has been developed mainly for
multi-degree-of-freedom (MDOF) bridge systems. This procedure begins with the selection of a
required performance based on either a displacement index or a strain index. The basic properties
of a damped equivalent single-degree-of-freedom (ESDOF) system can then be determined using
strength-demanded spectra. The procedure is followed with some design examples and validation
studies, conducted by dynamic inelastic time-history analyses using the general-purpose finite
element program ABAQUS [7]. The proposed procedure can also be applied to single-degree-of-
freedom (SDOF) bridge systems by simply ignoring all the processes involved in the transformation
between a MDOF system and its ESDOF system.


In past earthquake engineering, three performance levels were commonly used, namely, no require-
ment for repair following a minor earthquake, repairable damage from a moderate earthquake, and
safety against collapse in the event of a severe earthquake. However, these levels were described
in a purely qualitative sense. Considering the importance of bridges in the urban transportation

Copyright q 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Earthquake Engng Struct. Dyn. 2007; 36:541562
DOI: 10.1002/eqe

Table I. Performance levels for bridge structural members and elements [10].
Performance level (damage state)

Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4

Verification method (negligible) (light) (moderate) (severe)

For safety check

Displacement based max u
Strain based Steel section in compression: a max u
Steel section in tension: a max 0.05
Concrete-filled section: a max 0.011

For post-earthquake serviceability

Displacement based max y max 1.7y Not concrete-filled
max 4.0y
Partially concrete-filled
max 8.0y

Strain based a max y a max 2.0y a max 8.0y

Note: a max = maximum average compressive strain along the compressive side plate of critical member
segments, u = ultimate strain, and y = yield strain of the steel.



y y y m u

Figure 1. Performance levels for structural members.

system, qualitatively defined performances lead in practice to a one-phase design, namely, with
the aim of safeguarding bridge structures against failure during a severe earthquake. In the current
performance-based design philosophy, it is preferable that bridges not only be designed for the
prevention of collapse (i.e. for safety) but also so as to ensure that they can go on serving their
main function even after a severe earthquake (i.e. for post-earthquake serviceability).
With this in view, a set of four-level performance indices of a quantitative nature has recently
been proposed based on the work of a task committee of the Japanese Society of Steel Construction
(JSSC) [8] and on research by Usami and Oda [9]. Table I shows the four performance levels,
which correspond to different states of damage (negligible, light, moderate, and severe) and,
consequently, to differences in the time required for restoration [10]. The performance levels for
structural members in terms of displacement are depicted in Figure 1, in which a forcedisplacement
curve is plotted up to failure point.

Copyright q 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Earthquake Engng Struct. Dyn. 2007; 36:541562
DOI: 10.1002/eqe
544 Z. CHEN ET AL.

In the performance-based verification method, dynamic analyses are carried out to verify the
foreseeable performance of bridge structures under strong ground motions. As seen from Table
I, the safety check confirms that the maximum seismic responses of bridges will not exceed ulti-
mate limit values of the structure (structural capacity). The post-earthquake serviceability check,
on the other hand, ensures that the damage suffered will remain within acceptable limits. In
both checking processes, two performance indices (displacement and strain) can be employed,
these two approaches being referred to as the displacement-based verification method and the
strain-based verification method, respectively. This concept is similar to the one reported in Ref-
erence [11].
The displacement-based verification method is straightforward and connected with ductility
design, which has long been conceptually accepted. It is also rational and applicable to structural
systems in which a single fundamental mode predominates, for example, steel bridge piers of a
cantilever type, single-deck portal frame piers, and continuous bridges in the direction of the bridge
axis [12, 13]. In addition, it is also suitable for double-deck portal frame piers or continuous bridges
in the direction perpendicular to the bridge axis, provided the ratio of the effective mass of the
fundamental mode is greater than 0.75 [9]. However, for structural systems in which fundamental
mode is not predominant, such as arch bridges in the direction of the bridge axis, this method is
not well suited because of the influence of the change of shape mode. In addition, the selection
of reference points from which to monitor the state of damage is also difficult for complicated
bridge structures. In such cases, an alternative methodthe strain-based verification methodis
desirable [14]. The applicability of the strain-based verification method has been discussed and
validated for steel bridge piers of the cantilever type and for single-deck portal frame piers by
Morishita et al. [15].
Currently, the above performance indices are used in the last assessment phase of performance-
based verification for bridge structures [12, 14]. However, in the simplified seismic design approach
to be presented below, these performance indices are selected as pre-defined performance goals at
the start of the design procedure.



As mentioned previously, the structures are designed based on the concept of dual strategies. The
first strategy involves a preliminary elastic design against moderate earthquakes and the second
involves an ultimate limit state design to safeguard against strong earthquakes, which would allow
structures to undergo some acceptable degree of inelastic deformation. The current JRA code
recommends that dynamic analysis should be conducted on the ultimate behaviour of existing and
new bridge structures. If seismic requirements are not met, the bridges should be redesigned for
seismic performance upgrading. There are two options available for upgrading bridge performance.
One is to improve aseismatic measures, for example, by enlarging the cross-section of structural
members or reinforcing the plate components. The other is to introduce energy dissipators into the
bridge structure. This paper deals with the latter option, especially with the utilization of hysteretic
damping devices. A procedure is proposed for determining the stiffness and the lateral yield strength
of hysteretic dampers as supplemental energy dissipation devices based on the properties of the
main structure as known from the preliminary design. The basic steps are outlined schematically
in Figure 2 and will be described in detail below.

Copyright q 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Earthquake Engng Struct. Dyn. 2007; 36:541562
DOI: 10.1002/eqe

(a) (b) (c)


ESDOF System



(e) (d)

Strength-demanded spectra


(f) (g) (h)

Figure 2. Flow chart for design of MDOF system to be fitted with hysteretic damping devices: (a)
preliminary design; (b) pushover analysis; (c) idealized bilinear model; (d) establishment of ESDOF
system; (e) verification of seismic demand by performance-based method and selection of target value;
(f) design equivalent stiffness of damped frame; (g) design stiffness of damping devices; and (h) design
yield strength of damping devices.

Copyright q 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Earthquake Engng Struct. Dyn. 2007; 36:541562
DOI: 10.1002/eqe
546 Z. CHEN ET AL.

Step 1: Prepare a preliminary design of the main portal frame pier. The main portal frame pier
refers to the bare frame without hysteretic damping devices. The preliminary design of the main
frame takes account of gravity loads and lateral seismic forces. The purpose of the preliminary
design is to ensure the elastic behaviour of the main frame under moderate earthquakes. The
seismic coefficient method specified in the JRA code [16] may be used as shown in Figure 2(a),
in which kho represents the seismic coefficient (the ratio of the lateral inertia force acting on the
deck to the deck weight) specified in the code. The general structural parameters (including the
geometrical and material properties of the steel portal frame and its components, structural masses,
etc.) are established at this preliminary design stage.
Step 2: Perform the pushover analysis. The purpose of the pushover analysis (Figure 2(b)) is
to obtain the base sheartop displacement (Vb ) and the base shearaverage compressive strain
(Vb a ) curves of the main frame as shown in Figure 2(c). The main frame is monotonically
loaded up to the ultimate state. A failure criterion proposed by Usami et al. [13] is used to identify
the ultimate state which is considered to be attained when a reaches u in the critical member
segments. The effective length of the critical member segments is denoted by le , taking the smaller
of the lateral diaphragm spaces and 0.7 times the flange width of a box-sectional member. The
basic properties, estimated according to the Vb  curve, are the initial and ultimate values of base
in and V , and the initial and ultimate value of top displacement, in and  . Of these,
shear, Vy,f u,f y,f u,f
y,f will be employed to determine the target performance displacement in Step 6.
Step 3: Idealize the base sheartop displacement relationship as a bilinear curve. The Vb 
relationship can be idealized as a bilinear curve using the equivalent energy procedure provided
by Usami et al. [13] as shown in Figure 2(c). The values of bi bi
y,f and Vy,f obtained at the turning
point will be used together with Equations (1)(7) to formulate the ESDOF system.
Step 4: Establish the ESDOF system for the main frame. The formulation of an ESDOF sys-
tem deduced by Krawinkler and Seneviratna [17] is employed in this study. According to their
formulation, the MDOF system is assumed to respond predominantly in a single shape mode,
and the deflected shape remains constant throughout the earthquake. Several shape vectors are
available, such as the one at demand level or ultimate state (capacity level) and the elastic first
mode shape vector. The parametric study done by Usami et al. [13] demonstrated that the influence
of these shape vectors on the seismic performance of double-deck bridge piers could be neglected.
Considering that the use of such a shape vector is simply a recommendation, with no theoretical
justification behind it, the elastic first shape vector, {}, is adopted for this study. Consequently,
the displacement vector, {X }, can be obtained by multiplying {} with the top displacement, , as
{X } = {}  (1)
and the equation of motion of a ESDOF system can be written as
M  + C  + H = M xg (2)
in which
{}T [M]{}
 =  (3)
{}T [M]{1}

H = {}T {H } (4)

M = {}T [M]{1} (5)

Copyright q 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Earthquake Engng Struct. Dyn. 2007; 36:541562
DOI: 10.1002/eqe

{}T [M]{1}
C = {}T [C]{} (6)
{}T [M]{}

M Hy
T = 2 , K = (7)
K y

where {H } is the lateral force vector; [M] and [C] are mass and damping matrices, respectively; x g
is ground motion acceleration; and {1} is the unity vector. The superscript in the above formulas
represents corresponding properties of the ESDOF system. T represents the equivalent period of
the ESDOF system.
Since this step concerns the establishment of the ESDOF system with regard to the main frame,
all the properties are denoted with the subscript, f, as shown in Figure 2(c) and (d).
Step 5: Verify seismic demands of the ESDOF system by performance-based method. Referring
to the inset on the right side of Figure 2(e), dynamic analysis is performed on the simple mass-
spring model to estimate the top displacement demand, max , of the ESDOF system subject to a
particular ground motion. Alternatively, max can also be estimated by elastic response spectra.
For the displacement-based verification method (inset on the bottom left side of Figure 2(e)), max
is transformed to the maximum top displacement of the main frame, max , using Equation (3), and
max is compared with the value of required performance specified in Table I. For the strain-based
verification method (inset on the top left side of Figure 2(e)), the Vb a curve needs to be used
together with the Vb  curve to find a max because a simple ESDOF model of this sort is not
capable of evaluating local deformations. If the demand (max or a max ) is below the allowable
limit value as specified in Table I, there is no need for hysteretic damping devices to be installed.
If it is above the limit value, the following proposed steps can be applied to design hysteretic
damping devices for seismic upgrading.
Step 6: Select performance levels. This includes selection of a target value for the performance
index (t or t ) and selection of an expected future ground motion. The selection of a target
performance index for a damped frame design can be based on the levels and values provided in
Table I with reference to the known basic properties of the main frame. For displacement-based
design, Equation (3) can be applied to transform t to the equivalent target displacement, t . For
strain-based design, the corresponding displacement at t first has to be determined with the help
of the Vb  curve as mentioned in Step 2. Then this displacement is transformed to t using
Equation (3).
Considering that the main function of a hysteretic damping system is to enhance both stiffness
and the damping of the main structure against the risk of a severe earthquake, the strong ground
motions presented in Table II usually serve for this purpose. All of the waves are modified
from ground motions recorded in the Hyogoken-Nanbu Earthquake and are adopted in Japanese
codes [16].
Step 7: Determine lateral stiffness and yield strength of ESDOF through strength-demanded
spectra. Strength-demanded spectra are one of various types of nonlinear response spectra. Figure 3
shows one example generated on Ground Type II (a site other than rock or soft soil), referring
to the work of Nishimura and Murono [18]. The smoothed curves are generated by means of a
nonlinear least-squares procedure based on the actual earthquake spectra (the unsmoothed curves).
These curves are presented for ductility demands  = 1, 2, 3, with yield strength Hy (normalized by
an oscillator weight, W ) as the ordinate and the period as the abscissa. The relationship between

Copyright q 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Earthquake Engng Struct. Dyn. 2007; 36:541562
DOI: 10.1002/eqe
548 Z. CHEN ET AL.

Table II. Strong ground motions.

Ground motion identifier Location Ground Type PGA (g)

JMA-NS-M Kobe Marine Meteorological Observatory (JMA), N00E I 0.83

JMA-EW-M Kobe Marine Meteorological Observatory (JMA), N90E I 0.78
INA-NS-M Inagawa Bridge, Kobe, N00E I 0.80
JRT-EW-M JR West Japan Takatori (JRT), Kobe, N90E II 0.69
JRT-NS-M JR West Japan Takatori (JRT), Kobe, N00E II 0.70
FUKIAI-M Fukiai Supply Station, Osaka Gas Corp., Kobe, N30W II 0.75
HKB-NS-M Higashi Kobe Bridge, Kobe, N00E III 0.60
PIS-NS-M Port Island, Kobe, N00E III 0.57
PIS-EW-M Port Island, Kobe, N90E III 0.63

Note: Ground Type I represents a rock site, Ground Type III represents soft soil, and Ground Type II represents
sites other than Ground Types I and III. PGA stands for peak ground acceleration.

Hy / W


0.1 0.5 1 5
T (s)

Figure 3. Strength-demanded spectra (Ground Type II).

Table III. Standard acceleration spectra SII0 for strong ground motions [16].
Ground Type SII0 (g) relative to natural period T (s)

I SII0 = 4.554T 2/3 SII0 = 2.041 SII0 = 1.127T 5/3

T <0.3 0.3T 0.7 0.7<T
II SII0 = 3.290T 2/3 SII0 = 1.786 SII0 = 2.419/T 5/3
T <0.4 0.4T 1.2 1.2<T
III SII0 = 2.430T 2/3 SII0 = 1.531 SII0 = 3.008T 5/3
T <0.5 0.5T 1.5 1.5<T

Hy /W and T is expressed in Figure 3 in relation to , where M is the structural mass; g is

the gravity constant. f (T ) represents the elastic response spectra provided in the current JRA
code [16], whose standard values for acceleration response spectra are summarized in Table III.
t represents the target ductility (= t /y , where t and y represent the target displacement and
yield displacement, respectively).  is a parameter expressed in the function of the natural period
depending on the ground type as shown in Figure 3.

Copyright q 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Earthquake Engng Struct. Dyn. 2007; 36:541562
DOI: 10.1002/eqe

Equation (12)
H y, fd
1 W Equation (8)
with regard to t

Hy / W

T fd
0.1 0.5 1 5
T (s)

Figure 4. Obtaining yield strength coefficient and period of a damped system.

In the analysis of an ESDOF system, the above parameters should be replaced by the properties
of a damped ESDOF system. Thus, the spectra are then rewritten as

Hy,fd /M g = f (Tfd )/t  (8)
and T represent the expected lateral resistance of a damped ESDOF system and its
where Hy,fd fd
natural period, respectively; t is redefined as
t = t /y,fd (9)

where t is the displacement already established in Step 6; y,fd denotes the equivalent yield
displacement of the expected damped ESDOF system, which can be calculated from y,fd together
with Equation (3). Here, y,fd represents the yield displacement of a damped MDOF system
when yielding starts in the hysteretic damping device. Since the hysteretic damping device can
be expected to yield prior to the main frame, y,fd is the same as the yield displacement of
the hysteretic damping device, y,d , i.e. y,fd = y,d . Selection of y,d also involves selecting an
optimum displacement ratio,  , associated with the original MDOF system and the damping
system. This issue will be discussed later.
For an ESDOF system at the yield point, we have

Hy,fd /M g = K fd y,fd /M g (10)
In its elastic range, the initial stiffness is related to the natural period,

42 M
K fd = (11)
By substituting Equation (11) into Equation (10), it can be rewritten as follows:

42 1
Hy,fd /M g = y,fd 2 (12)
g Tfd
This equation is plotted in Figure 4. As can be seen, it is a straight line intersecting with the
spectrum curve. For a required ductility, reading down to the abscissa gives the design natural
period of the damped frame, Tfd (or the corresponding elastic lateral stiffness, K fd
) while reading

left to the ordinate gives the design yield strength coefficient for the damped frame, Hy,fd /W .

Copyright q 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Earthquake Engng Struct. Dyn. 2007; 36:541562
DOI: 10.1002/eqe
550 Z. CHEN ET AL.

Alternatively, Equations (8) and (12) can also be solved simultaneously to obtain Tfd (or K fd )
and Hy,fd
Step 8: Distribute lateral resistances of hysteretic damping devices at each level of MDOF
system. Having established the basic properties of the damped ESDOF system (Figure 2(f)), the
next step is to transform the damped ESDOF system into the damped MDOF system, that is, to
distribute the yield strengths and stiffnesses of the hysteretic damping devices at each level of the
original MDOF system (Figure 2(g) and (h)).
In the case of an elastic MDOF structure installed with hysteretic damping devices, the lateral
stiffness matrix of the hysteretic damping system, [K d ], relates the vector of the shear forces
resisted by the damping devices at different levels, {Hd }, to the vector of the relative lateral
displacements of the damping devices, {X d }, as

{Hd } = [K d ]{X d } (13)

Note that [K d ] is a diagonal matrix consisting of the elastic lateral stiffness of the hysteretic
damping device at the ith level, K d,i , and having a dimension of n n, where n is the number of
To determine {X d }, {X } can be formulated by substituting the top displacement, , derived from
Equation (3) into Equation (1). This yields

{}T [M]{1} {}T [M]{1}

{X } = {}  or {X  } = { }  (14)
{}T [M]{} {}T [M]{}

where {X  } represents the relative displacement vector and { } represents the relative shape
vector. Theoretically, the deflected shape concerned in this step represents that of the damped
MDOF system. But because this shape vector is not known at this stage, an iteration process will
have to be involved. The analysis presented later will indicate that the difference between the shape
vector of an undamped structure and that of a damped structure is not significant. For simplicity,
as mentioned above, the first mode shape vector of the undamped MDOF system, {}, is therefore
adopted at this step.
Assuming that the large plastic deformation is confined in hysteretic dampers, {X d } can then be
approximated to {X  },

{}T [M]{1}
{X d } = {X  } = { }  (15)
{}T [M]{}

To determine {Hd }, the lateral force vector of a damped frame, {Hfd }, is first derived. It can be
written as

{Hfd } = q {H } (16)

where q is constant and will be defined later; {H } is the normalized lateral force vector, which
represents the distribution of inertia forces and may be assumed identical to the lateral load pattern
employed in the pushover analysis of the main frame.
Substituting Equation (16) for {H } in Equation (4) and replacing H with Hfd , it can be obtained

that q = Hfd /({} {H }). Substituting q back into Equation (16) and expressing the total shear

force resisted by the damped ESDOF system, Hfd , as a product of the elastic lateral stiffness of

Copyright q 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Earthquake Engng Struct. Dyn. 2007; 36:541562
DOI: 10.1002/eqe

, and the lateral displacement,  , we obtain

the damped ESDOF system, K fd
K fd x
K fd
{Hfd } = {H } 
or {Hfd } = {H } (17)
{}T {H } {}T {H }

where {Hfd  } is the shear force vector of the damped frame in different levels and { } is the
normalized shear force vector in different levels. Regarding the ESDOF system as a single-deck
damped frame, K fd can be expressed as a linear combination of K and K . Thus, Equation (17)
d f
is rewritten as
(K d + K f )

{Hfd } = {H } (18)
{}T {H }
The right-hand side of Equation (18) can be divided into two terms, denoting the shear resistance
of the damping devices and that of the main frame. The former, which is denoted by {Hd }, is
therefore given by
K d 
{Hd } = {H } (19)
{}T {H }
Consequently, the yield strength of the hysteretic damping devices at each level is given by
K d 

Hd,i = H,i (20)
{}T {H }
By substituting Equations (15) and (19) for {X d } and {Hd }, respectively, in Equation (13) and
solving for K d,i , the expression of the elastic lateral stiffness of the hysteretic damping device in
the ith level is finally obtained as
H,i K d {}T [M]{}
K d,i = (21)
i {}T {H } {}T [M]{1}
Step 9: Design hysteretic damping devices. Once the yield strength and stiffness of the hysteretic
damping devices at each level are established by Equations (20) and (21), the hysteretic damping
devices can be designed. In this study, a buckling-restrained brace (BRB) with a flat core plate is
employed as shown in Figure 5. In such a configuration, the required core plate cross-section area
of one BRB member, Ad,i , can be calculated from geometrical conditions as
Ad,i = K d,i (22)
E L2
where lBRB is the length of the BRB, and L is the span of the portal frame. The required yield
tensile strength of the material, y,d , is given by
y,d = 2
y,d (23)
where the yield displacement of the damping devices, y,d , is as designated in Step 7. From
Equations (22) and (23) it can be seen that the strength and stiffness of a BRB member of this

Copyright q 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Earthquake Engng Struct. Dyn. 2007; 36:541562
DOI: 10.1002/eqe
552 Z. CHEN ET AL.

restraining members


BRB Bolt Bolt
Core plate Unbonding material

(a) (b)

Figure 5. Sample portal frame piers installed with buckling-restrained braces (BRB):
(a) elevation; and (b) cross-section of BRB.

type are mutually dependent. That is to say, given the steel material, a sole parameter Ad,i is
sufficient to adjust its strength and stiffness.


The simplified seismic design approach as described in the preceding section is applied to single-
deck and double-deck portal frame piers to obtain the design for the added hysteretic damping
devices. Figure 6(a) and (b) shows the finite element models. The preliminary design is performed
in accordance with the Seismic Coefficient Method [16, 19], assuming Regional Class A and
Ground Type II. The entire frame is made of SM490 grade steel with y = 314 MPa, E = 206 GPa,
u = 506 MPa, and  = 0.3. The piers and girders have uniform stiffened box cross-sections, the
design information for which is presented in Table IV. Schematic diagrams are shown in Figure 6(c)
and (d). For simplicity, the stiffened piers and girders are simplified as equivalent beamcolumn
elements of unstiffened box section [13]. Since this type of portal frame is commonly subject to
heavy loading, the plates at the piergirder connections should be strengthened by doubling the
plate thickness in order to avoid shear failure as shown in Figure 6(e).
As an illustrative example, the design process for the double-deck piers only is presented below.
The design results of added damping devices are summarized in Table VI for single-deck piers
and in Table VII for double-deck piers.

4.1. Illustrative exampledouble-deck portal frame

The general FEM program ABAQUS [7] is employed in the pushover analysis. A two-dimensional
Timoshenko beam element of type B21, provided in the ABAQUS element library, is used to model
the piers and girders of the main frame. The B21 element takes account of shear deformation.
Because of the equal deck mass and uniform cross-section of the present portal frame, the force
distribution pattern can be taken as uniform, as is recommended by the JRA code [16]. The
uniform force pattern is also used as {H } in Equations (16)(21). Consequently, {H } is [1, 2]T .
The pushover analysis results are presented in Table IV. At the same time, an eigenvalue analysis is
also performed to obtain the first mode shape vector {}. For the pier presented, {} is [1, 0.52]T

Copyright q 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Earthquake Engng Struct. Dyn. 2007; 36:541562
DOI: 10.1002/eqe

Figure 6. Finite element models and member sections: (a) single-deck piers; (b) double-deck piers;
(c) pier section; (d) girder section; and (e) details of strengthened parts.

and { } is [0.48, 0.52]T . {} is then used to establish the ESDOF system, and the computed
properties are presented in Table V. Considering the inherent simplification of the method, it is
worth noting that, for the pier presented, a linear variation of the deformations along the pier
height could be used instead of {}, at least in the first design trials.
The global displacement demand of the ESDOF system, max , is 0.475m. max can be transformed
to max using Equation (3). It is found that max (= 0.569 m) of the original portal frame pier
exceeds its ultimate capacity, u (= 0.518 m). Therefore, damping devices need to be employed
to reduce structural damage in the case of a strong earthquake.

Copyright q 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Earthquake Engng Struct. Dyn. 2007; 36:541562
DOI: 10.1002/eqe

Copyright q
Table IV. Structural parameters and basic properties of the main frames.
Main frame Pier Girder

Dimensions or parameters SDOF MDOF Dimensions or parameters Value Dimensions or parameters Value

2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Steel grade SM490 SM490 Width, Bc (mm) 2000 Width, Bb (mm) 2000
Height, H (m) 12 12 2 Depth, Dc (mm) 1000 Depth, Db (mm) 1000
Length, L (m) 12 12 Thickness, t (mm) 32 Thickness, t (mm) 32
Total deck mass, M (ton) 2042 2034 Flange slenderness, Rfc 0.34 Flange slenderness, Rfb 0.34
Initial yield displacement, iny,f (m) 0.078 0.137 Web slenderness, Rwc 0.34 Web slenderness, Rwc 0.78
in (kN)
Initial yield strength, Vy,f 6758 5939 Aspect ratio of flange, fc 1.0 Aspect ratio of flange, fb 0.5
0.418 0.518 0.5 0.83

Ultimate displacement, u,f (m) Aspect ratio of web, wc Aspect ratio of web, wb
Ultimate strength, Vu,f (kN) 11 836 10 884 No. of flange sub-panels, n fc 2 No. of flange sub-panels, n fb 4
Bi yield displacement, bi y,f (m) 0.112 0.211 No. of web sub-panels, n wc 4 No. of web sub-panels, n wb 1
bi (kN) 9645 9318 Stiffener slenderness, sc 0.89 Stiffener slenderness, 0.72
Bi yield strength, Vy,f sb
Period, Tf (s) 0.97 1.23 Stiffener width, bs (mm) 140 Stiffener width, bs (mm) 140
First mode shape vector, {} [1, 0.52]T Stiffener thickness, ts (mm) 32 Stiffener thickness, ts (mm) 32

DOI: 10.1002/eqe
Earthquake Engng Struct. Dyn. 2007; 36:541562

Table V. Properties of ESDOF system.

Lateral load distribution M (kg) C (kg/s) y,f (m) (kN)
Vy,f Tf (s)

Uniform 1 543 000 789 000 0.176 7069 1.23

Table VI. Summary of design results for SDOF systems.

 t (m) y,d (m) Hy,fd /Mg Tfd (s) Ad (m2 ) y,d (MPa)
Strain-based design
0.1 0.104 0.008 0.223 0.375 0.079 54
0.3 0.104 0.023 0.511 0.430 0.057 161
0.5 0.104 0.039 0.764 0.453 0.050 268
0.7 0.104 0.055 1.009 0.467 0.046 375
1.0 0.104 0.078 1.366 0.480 0.043 536

Displacement-based design
0.1 0.133 0.008 0.166 0.435 0.055 54
0.3 0.133 0.023 0.378 0.500 0.038 161
0.5 0.133 0.039 0.582 0.519 0.035 268
0.7 0.133 0.055 0.782 0.530 0.033 375
1.0 0.133 0.078 1.077 0.540 0.031 536

In this design example, Performance Level 2 is assumed, which is the most common level used
for expressway bridge structures in Japan. For strain-based design, the target strain performance,
t (= 2.0y ), corresponds to a displacement value of 0.181 m. For displacement-based design,
t (= 1.7iny,f ) is equal to 0.233 m, and the corresponding strain magnitude equals 4.20y .
Table VII summarizes the design results. In this table, the lateral yield displacement of the BRB,
y,d , is designed according to the yield displacement ratio  (= y,d /in y,f ).  is assigned values
of 0.3, 0.5, 0.7, and 1.0, within the perfect limiting range from 0.0 to 1.0. Of the range of  values
for single-deck portal frames in Table VI, the case of  = 0.1 is excluded for double-deck portal
frames due to the difficulties encountered in solving the equations. t and y,d are transformed
to the corresponding displacements t and y,fd of the ESDOF system. Using strength-demanded
spectra and solving Equations (7) and (20)(23), Hy,fd /M g, T , A , and 
fd d y,d are easily calculated,
as presented in Table VII.
It should be noted that an arbitrary designation of  will result in a variation of y,d as shown
in Table VII. This is because the strength and stiffness of a BRB member of this type are mutually
dependent as shown in Equations (22) and (23). For practical design purposes, the issue can be
resolved by selecting the steel material first, corresponding to the unique value of y,d obtainable
from Equation (23). Then y,d can be used to determine the target displacement ductility in Step 7.
It should be noted, also, that the designed value of y,d covers 133473 MPa. This indicates that
at least one available commercial steel grade could be used here.
However, the present numerical studies do not yet take account of practical yield strength
because the dependence between strength and stiffness is a specific feature of the BRB. That is
not the case for other kinds of hysteretic dampers.

Copyright q 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Earthquake Engng Struct. Dyn. 2007; 36:541562
DOI: 10.1002/eqe
556 Z. CHEN ET AL.

Table VII. Summary of design results for MDOF systems.

 t (m) y,d (m) t y,fd /M g

Hy,fd (s)
Tfd Level Ad (m2 ) y,d (MPa) {fd }

Strain-based design  
0.3 0.181 0.041 0.151 0.034 0.517 0.565 Second 0.029 133
First 0.054 142  
0.5 0.181 0.069 0.151 0.057 0.835 0.577 Second 0.027 221
First 0.051 237  
0.7 0.181 0.096 0.151 0.080 1.137 0.583 Second 0.027 309
First 0.050 331  
1.0 0.181 0.137 0.151 0.115 1.591 0.589 Second 0.026 442
First 0.048 473
Displacement-based design  
0.3 0.233 0.041 0.195 0.034 0.301 0.675 Second 0.018 133
First 0.033 142  
0.5 0.233 0.069 0.195 0.057 0.508 0.673 Second 0.018 221
First 0.034 237  
0.7 0.233 0.096 0.195 0.080 0.715 0.672 Second 0.018 309
First 0.034 331  
1.0 0.233 0.137 0.195 0.115 1.031 0.671 Second 0.018 442
First 0.034 473


In order to verify the accuracy of the proposed design approach in terms of meeting pre-defined
performance responses, dynamic nonlinear analyses are performed. The modified two surface
model [20] is employed to simulate the hysteretic behaviour of steel frame material for more
accuracy. The BRB is modelled using a truss element provided by ABAQUS, which is assumed
to be subject only to axial tension and compression without local buckling. One end of the BRB
is pinned at the pier base and the other at the midpoint of the girder. A bilinear hysteretic model
with a kinematic hardening rule is suggested for a BRB of this kind made of conventional steel
material [21, 22]. Rayleigh damping, which is usually utilized in dynamic analysis, consists of
mass proportional damping and stiffness proportional damping. Here, mass proportional damping
of 5% is used, whereas the inherent stiffness proportional damping is taken as zero since it is
negligible if compared with the significant amount of equivalent viscous damping due to yielding
of the hysteretic dampers.

Copyright q 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Earthquake Engng Struct. Dyn. 2007; 36:541562
DOI: 10.1002/eqe

5.1. Verification of design approach for single-deck steel piers

A first series of time-history analysis results for single-deck steel piers designed with strain and
displacement-based methods is presented in Figure 7. The maximum top displacement, max ,
and the maximum average compressive strain, a max , will now be discussed. In order to verify
the accuracy of the design approach in terms of meeting the pre-defined target performances, the
analysis results are first normalized by the target values. The horizontal dashed line at max /t = 1.0
represents perfect attainment of the target displacement or strain performance. For each  , the
piers are subject to the three strong ground motions on Ground Type II given in Table II (i.e.
JRT-EW-M, JRT-NS-M, and FUKIAI-M). As each model is designed with smoothed strength-
demanded spectra while the time-history analysis was conducted with recorded ground motions,
a certain amount of scatter in the resulting responses can be anticipated. To remove this variation,
the average of the demands from three ground motions is taken for each  .
Figure 7(a) represents the maximum seismic responses obtained from a strain-based design,
plotted against  . As can be seen, max /t approaches 1.0 with increasing  in all three cases.
The same trend is also observed in the a max /t  curves. The approximation in terms of curve
shape indicates that the proposed strain index is as useful as the displacement index in predicting
the structural damage state. The displacement index is the measure currently most widely accepted
in ductility design philosophy.

5 5
Average Average
4 4
a max/t

3 3

2 2

1 1

0 0
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0

5 5
Average Average
4 4
a max/t


2 2

1 1

0 0
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0

Figure 7. Accuracy of design approach for single-deck piers: (a) strain-based, t = 0.104 m, t = 2.0y ; and
(b) displacement-based, t = 0.133 m, t = 3.49y .

Copyright q 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Earthquake Engng Struct. Dyn. 2007; 36:541562
DOI: 10.1002/eqe
558 Z. CHEN ET AL.

= 0.3, L = 0.7, L
1 1
/ y

/ y
0 0

-1 -1

-20 -10 0 10 20 -20 -10 0 10 20

(a) / y / y

= 0.3, L = 0.7, L
1 1
/ y

/ y
0 0

-1 -1

-20 -10 0 10 20 -20 -10 0 10 20

(b) / y / y

Figure 8. Stressstrain curves of BRB in single-deck piers: (a) strain-based design;

and (b) displacement-based design. Note: L represents the left BRB.

Seen from the average responses, both max and a max give reasonably good agreement with the
target performance except for the case of  = 0.1. Here, the seismic responses are significantly
larger than expected. The excessively large responses suggest that there may be an optimum range
for the choice of the yield displacement ratio,  . Although its theoretical range is from 0.0 to
1.0, a bottom-of-the-range value of  results in a lower steel yield strength for the BRB (see
Table VI) and hence in a smaller lateral yield force also. This causes the BRB to enter into a
state of plasticity prior to the main shock of an earthquake. Furthermore, the deformation of the
BRB exceeds the limit strain of the steel material during strong ground motions. It is presumable
that BRB fails to work. Because of the disabling of the BRB, the remaining energy induced by a
earthquake has to be dissipated through the plasticization of the main frame. This is the cause of
the large seismic responses in the case of  = 0.1. On the other hand, when  approaches 1.0,
the designed yield strength of the BRB material increases (see Table VI). This high yield strength
causes almost simultaneous yielding in the BRB and the main frame. As a result, in the case of
 = 1.0, the BRB displays hardly any plastic behaviour at all.
The above statements can be easily verified from the normalized stressstrain responses of BRB
shown in Figure 8. It should be noted that the axial strain responses presented in Figure 8 are
twice as large as those obtained directly from analyses because the actual length of the steel core
plate that undergoes a large deformation is only about half of the geometric element length used in
the FEM model [6]. Clearly, the peak deformation of the BRB decreases rapidly with the increase
of  .

Copyright q 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Earthquake Engng Struct. Dyn. 2007; 36:541562
DOI: 10.1002/eqe

For displacement-based design, seismic responses in terms of top displacements, average com-
pressive strains and local deformation of the BRB are similar to those for strain-based design. It
can be concluded that both a strain-based and a displacement-based methods give a good basis for
the design of single-deck steel piers provided  is greater than 0.3. It also needs to be noted that
in this limiting range the displacement response seems to achieve its target value slightly better
than the strain response. The average error remains within 10% for max /t , while it is about 20%
for a max /t .

5.2. Verification of design approach for double-deck steel piers

A second series of analysis results, for double-deck steel piers designed with strain-based and
displacement-based design, is presented in Figure 9. The stressstrain curves of BRB members
subjected to JRT-EW-M ground motion are shown in Figure 10 in a similar manner as before. It
can be seen from Figure 9 that the time-history analysis results obtained using both indices give
good agreement over the  range from 0.5 to 1.0. In the case of  = 0.3, significant differences
of seismic response are found between the three ground motions. Especially, the estimate for the
maximum average compression strain is somewhat larger than target performance values. However,
the BRB members appear to dissipate energy normally in this case (Figure 10).

5 5
Average Average
4 4
a max/t

3 3

2 2

1 1

0 0
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0

5 5
Average Average
4 4
a max/t

3 3

2 2

1 1

0 0
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0

Figure 9. Accuracy of design approach for double-deck piers: (a) strain-based, t = 0.181 m, t = 2.0y ;
and (b) displacement-based, t = 0.233 m, t = 4.20y .

Copyright q 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Earthquake Engng Struct. Dyn. 2007; 36:541562
DOI: 10.1002/eqe
560 Z. CHEN ET AL.

= 0.3, S2-L = 0.7, S2-L

1 1
/ y

/ y
0 0

-1 -1

-20 -10 0 10 20 -20 -10 0 10 20

(a) / y / y

= 0.3, S2-L = 0.7, S2-L

1 1
/ y

/ y
0 0

-1 -1

-20 -10 0 10 20 -20 -10 0 10 20

(b) / y / y

Figure 10. Stressstrain curves of BRB in double-deck piers: (a) strain-based design; and
(b) displacement-based design. Note: S2-L represents the left BRB in the second level.

3.0 3.0
Average Average
2.5 JRT-EW-M 2.5 JRT-EW-M
2.0 2.0
Ed,2 / Ed,1

Ed,2 / Ed,1

1.5 1.5

1.0 1.0

0.5 0.5
0.0 0.0
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0
(a) (b)

Figure 11. Comparison of dissipated energy ratio for dampers in double-deck piers:
(a) strain-based; and (b) displacement-based.

A further characteristic of the energy dissipation behaviour of the BRBs is shown in Figure
11, through a comparison of the dissipated energy ratio of BRBs between the first and the second
levels. Here, E d,2 and E d,1 denote the hysteretic energy dissipated by BRBs in the upper and the
lower levels, respectively. As can be seen, E d,2 /E d,1 is almost constant under the three ground
motions when  is small. But when  becomes larger, E d,2 /E d,1 increases with the increase

Copyright q 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Earthquake Engng Struct. Dyn. 2007; 36:541562
DOI: 10.1002/eqe

in  , indicating that the dissipated energy comes to be concentrated in the upper level. The
non-uniform distribution of dissipated energy can be traced back to the assumption of a uniform
load pattern in the design phase. The structural system so designed suffers from a rigid lateral
stiffness in the lower level compared with the upper one. As a result, when  is close to 1.0, the
damping device in the upper level attracts proportionally more energy than that in the lower level.
It seems, therefore, that displacement-based design gives a more satisfactory capacity for uniform
distributed energy dissipation.


A simplified seismic design procedure for steel bridge piers to be fitted with hysteretic damping
devices was proposed in the present study, using equivalent single-degree-of-freedom methodology
and nonlinear response spectra. Not only displacement, but also strain was selected as a target
performance index. The procedure was successfully applied to single-deck and double-deck steel
portal frame piers. Inelastic dynamic time-history analysis confirms that both design indices enable
a structure fitted with hysteretic damping devices to keep damage down to an expected level during
a severe earthquake. The optimum range of the yield displacement ratio  was also discussed
for the portal frame pier examples. It was found that a range of  from 0.3 to 1.0 results in
successful design results for single-deck piers, and that a range from 0.5 to 1.0 allows the same
for double-deck piers.
While the approach presented here will enable much more efficient seismic design of simple steel
bridge structures, such as the portal frame piers discussed above as an example, its applicability
to more complicated bridge forms (e.g. steel arch bridges and cable bridges) remains unknown.
For such complicated bridge structures, the applicability of ESDOF techniques, the optimum
distribution of hysteretic dampers, and the applicability of displacement-based and strain-based
indices are issues that need further study.

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Copyright q 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Earthquake Engng Struct. Dyn. 2007; 36:541562
DOI: 10.1002/eqe