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Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 72 (2015) 77–88

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Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering

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Seismic sequence effects on three-dimensional reinforced

concrete buildings
Maria Hatzivassiliou a, George D. Hatzigeorgiou b,n
Freelance consulting engineer, Thessaloniki, Greece
School of Science and Technology, Hellenic Open University, Patras, Greece

art ic l e i nf o a b s t r a c t

Article history: Repeated earthquakes strongly affect the inelastic response of structures and cause in many cases more
Received 21 January 2015 adverse effects in comparison with the corresponding single ground motions, such as the accumulation
Accepted 7 February 2015 of structural and non-structural damage as well as the increment of deformation demands. Numerous
Available online 25 February 2015
research studies have been recently published in the pertinent literature to investigate this phenomenon
Keywords: but most of them are limited either to single-degree-of-freedom (SDOF) systems or to two-dimensional
Three-dimensional seismic analysis multi-degree-of freedom (2-D MDOF) systems such as multi-storey planar framed structures. With
Reinforced concrete buildings special regard to reinforced concrete (RC) buildings, this study investigates for the first time the inelastic
Multiple earthquakes response of three-dimensional (3-D) structures subjected to repeated earthquakes. More specifically,
two three-storey and two five-storey RC buildings, which are regular and irregular along their height, are
examined under five real strong multiple earthquakes where their two horizontal components as well as
the vertical one are taken into account. The investigation focuses on the examination of the maximum
displacements, maximum residual displacements, maximum interstorey drift ratio, maximum residual
interstorey drift ratio, damage indices and ductility demands. Finally, the building structures under
consideration are analyzed for different siting configurations to investigate the effect of earthquake
direction incident. It is concluded that the multiplicity of earthquakes should be taken into account for
the reliable seismic design of reinforced concrete structures.
& 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction Numerous research studies can be mentioned here examining the

effects of repeated earthquake phenomena on single-degree-of-
Seismic sequences take place frequently at many regions world- freedom (SDOF) systems. One can mention the works of Amadio
wide. As a consequence, the accumulated strains at active seismic et al. [1] and Luco et al. [2] where the effects of repeated earthquakes
faults are not released outright at the first rupture, but sequential on nonlinear SDOF systems were examined and quantified. Further-
ruptures take place leading to repeated earthquakes. In many cases, more, Hatzigeorgiou and Beskos [3] proposed appropriate inelastic
there is a significant damage accumulation as a result of multiplicity displacement ratios for the case of seismic sequences. Additionally,
of earthquakes and frequently, due to lack of time between succes- Hatzigeorgiou [4–6] studied the ductility demands and behavior
sive seismic events, any rehabilitation process seems to be unfeasible. factors for nonlinear SDOF systems subjected to multiple near-fault
There are numerous examples of buildings worldwide where the and far-field earthquakes. Moustafa and Takewaki [7] and Takewaki
structural damage has been accumulated due to multiple earth- et al. [8] examined simple stochastic models representing repeated
quakes. For example, one can mention the recent Christchurch (NZ) seismic sequences. In addition, various research studies investigated
seismic sequence where the Canterbury Television and the Pyne the effects of multiple earthquakes on multi-degree of freedom
Gould Corp. buildings were damaged due to the first strong earth- (MDOF) systems. One can mention here the works of Fragiacomo
quake (4 Sept. 2010) and then collapsed during the second successive et al. [9], Li and Ellingwood [10], Hatzigeorgiou and Liolios [11] and
strong ground motion (22 Feb. 2011). Although the recognized Ruiz-Garcia and Negrete-Manriquez [12], which have examined steel
observable fact for multiple earthquakes, the modern seismic design framed structures and Loulelis et al. [13], Faisal et al. [14], Efraimia-
codes have not considered adequately this phenomenon and they dou et al. [15], Di Sarno [16] and Abdelnaby and Elnashai [17] which
typically focus on the single and rare ‘design earthquake’. have focused on multi-storey reinforced concrete frames. It is worth
noticing that all these studies, i.e., Refs [9–17], have been limited to
two-dimensional/planar structures while according to the best of the
Corresponding author. Tel.: þ 30 2610 367769 authors' knowledge, there is not research work that has examined
E-mail address: (G.D. Hatzigeorgiou). the effects of repeated earthquakes on three-dimensional reinforced
0267-7261/& 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
78 M. Hatzivassiliou, G.D. Hatzigeorgiou / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 72 (2015) 77–88


Fig. 1. 3-storey regular building.


Fig. 3. 5-storey regular building.


Fig. 2. 3-storey irregular building.

concrete (RC) structures. Thus, the need for the development of an

efficient methodology for the inelastic analysis of three-dimensional
RC buildings under repeated earthquakes is apparent.
This study investigates the behavior of three-dimensional RC
structures under multiple earthquakes. For this objective, the non-
linear dynamic response of four three-dimensional RC buildings
under five real seismic sequences is investigated. These multiple
earthquakes have been recorded by the same station and in a short
period of time, up to three days. The time-history responses of
building structures under consideration subjected to the aforemen-
tioned seismic sequences are computed using Ruaumoko structural
analysis program [18]. The study focuses on the most critical
structural parameters such as the structural damage, maximum
displacements, permanent displacements and interstorey drift ratios.
Additionally, the building structures under consideration have been Z
analyzed for different siting configurations to examine the effect of Y
earthquake direction incident. Examining the results of this study,
very important conclusions and outcomes are found.

Fig. 4. 5-storey irregular building.

2. Description of structures and modeling assumptions
while the other two frames have 5 storeys and they are also
2.1. Description of structures regular and irregular along their height. The examined 3- and
5-storey buildings have 2 equal bays in each direction (x and y)
In this research study, four three-dimensional buildings are with total length equal to 10.40 m. The 3-storey irregular building
investigated. The first two frames have 3 storeys, where the first has a setback on the third floor and the 5-storey irregular building
one is regular and the second one is irregular along its height, has setbacks on its fourth and fifth floor. Typical floor-to-floor
M. Hatzivassiliou, G.D. Hatzigeorgiou / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 72 (2015) 77–88 79

height is equal to 3.0 m. The columns have square sections value of behavior factor should be reduced by 20%, as clarified by the
and their sectional dimension for the whole set of buildings are provisions of EC8 [21]. Therefore, structures which are not regular in
40  40 cm, 50  50 cm and 60  60 cm. The dimensions (section elevation and examined herein such as structures in Figs. 2 and 4,
width/height) of beams for the 3- and 5-storey regular buildings have q¼0.8  3.6¼2.88.
are 25  50 cm and of beams for the 3- and 5-storey irregular
buildings are 25  60 cm, 25  55 cm and 25  50 cm. The 3-D 2.2. Nonlinear structural behavior
models of the structures are shown in Figs. 1–4, which also depict
the numbering of nodes and elements. The behavior of a well-designed RC member under cyclic loading
The steel reinforcement selection and placement are shown in can be adequately described by a hysteretic model without pinching.
Figs. 5–7, where due to lack of space, only the 3-storey irregular In this work, the hysteresis model of Takeda is adopted (see Fig. 8),
building is illustrated. which is available in the library of Ruaumoko program [18], assuming
The structures are made by reinforced concrete with concrete grade the following parameters: unloading parameter α ¼0.25 for beams
C20/25 and longitudinal and transverse reinforcements with grade and α ¼0.50 for columns, reloading parameter β ¼ 0 both for columns
B500C. The structures are analyzed and designed for earthquake loads and for beams, and post-yield stiffness ratio r¼ 0.01 for all structural
(E) with peak ground acceleration PGA¼ 0.24 g and soil class B, using members. Ruaumoko program [18] has adopted the concentrated
StereoSTATIKA structural analysis program [19], according to Euro- plasticity approach where the inelastic response results are depended
codes EC2 [20] and EC8 [21]. The structural analysis and design takes on the plastic hinge length, lph. This length define the relation between
into account dead loads, G, live loads, Q, earthquake loads, E, as well as rotation and the curvature, and without lost of generality, it is assumed
any probable loading combination according to the aforementioned that for each member is equal to the half of its section's height H (or
structural codes. The combination coefficient ψ of live load Q is taken width B in perpendicular direction), i.e., lph ¼ H/2 (or lph ¼B/2) [11].
equal to 0.3 in this study. The selection of steel longitudinal rebars
considers the concept of week beams-strong columns of EC8 [21], i.e.,
2.3. Other modeling assumptions
M Rc Z 1:3 M Rb ð1Þ
A three dimensional model of each structure is created in
where M Rc and M Rb are the sum of the resistance moments of RUAUMOKO [18] to perform nonlinear dynamic analysis. The Ray-
columns and beams at every beam–column joint, respectively. leigh approach for damping is used where the damping matrix can
It should be noted that the behavior factor for concrete buildings be expressed as a linear combination of mass and stiffness matrices
with regular elevations is q¼3.6 while for irregular buildings, the of the structures [22]. Columns and beams are modeled with lumped

Fig. 5. 1st ground floor.

80 M. Hatzivassiliou, G.D. Hatzigeorgiou / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 72 (2015) 77–88

Fig. 6. 2nd floor.

Fig. 7. 3rd floor.

M. Hatzivassiliou, G.D. Hatzigeorgiou / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 72 (2015) 77–88 81

plasticity elements by defining plastic hinges at both ends of them, as the aforementioned siting rotation. For example, Fig. 9 depicts the
mentioned above. It is assumed that, due to diaphragm action of 4 different configurations under consideration for the 3-storey
concrete slabs, beams cannot deform along their axis. Furthermore, irregular building while similar representation can be shown for
the expected cracking of a concrete section can be taken into account the 5-storey irregular building.
considering its effective (reduced) moment of inertia, Ieff, i.e., for
beams Ieff ¼ 0.35Ig and for columns Ieff ¼0.60Ig [11], where Ig is the
moment of inertia of the gross section. It should be noted that the 3. Seismic input
probable flexibility of soil is ignored, assuming fixed base conditions.
Finally, the XTRACT program [23] is used for the section modeling, This work examines five real seismic sequences, which are namely:
i.e., to evaluate the moment-curvature response. Mammoth Lakes (May 1980 – 5 single seismic events), Chalfant Valley
(July 1986 – 2 single seismic events), Coalinga (July 1983 – 2 single
seismic events), Imperial Valley (October 1979 – 2 single seismic
2.4. The effect of earthquake direction incident events) and Whittier Narrows (October 1987 – 2 single seismic events).
Each earthquake consists of three components, i.e., the two hor-
Regarding to siting, four different cases are examined for each izontal records and the vertical one. For the earthquakes under
irregular building to investigate the effect of earthquake direction consideration, the horizontal component with the higher peak ground
incident. More specifically, four different angles between the princi- acceleration (PGA) is set as Component (1) while the other one as
pal axes of the structures (see global coordinates system XYZ in Component (2). Furthermore, the vertical axis corresponds to Compo-
Figs. 1–4) and the recorded components of the earthquake excitations nent (3). The complete list of these seismic events is shown in Table 1
are investigated: a) 01, b) 901, c) 1801, and d) 2701. The regular and the corresponding records have been downloaded from the strong
buildings, due to their symmetry in X–Y plane, are analyzed without motion database of the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research (PEER)

Table 2
Scaling factors.

Structure Mammoth Chalfant Coalinga Imperial Whittier

Lakes Valley Valley Narrows

3-storey 1.369 0.521 0.592 1.590 2.939

3-storey 1.189 0.641 0.454 0.908 1.564
5-storey 1.816 0.744 1.051 1.262 1.230
5-storey 1.212 0.572 0.886 1.293 1.852
Fig. 8. The modified Takeda hysteresis model [18].

Fig. 9. Different siting configurations for the 3-storey irregular structure.

Table 1
Seismic input data – real seismic sequences.

No. Seismic sequence Station Date (time) Code name Recorded PGA (g)

1 Mammoth Lakes 54099 Convict Creek 1980/05/25 (16:34) MA1 0.442

1980/05/25 (16:49) MA2 0.178
1980/05/25 (19:44) MA3 0.219
1980/05/25 (20:35) MA4 0.432
1980/05/27 (14:51) MA5 0.316
2 Chalfant Valley 54428 Zack Brothers Ranch 1986/07/20 (14:29) CH1 0.285
1986/07/21 (14:42) CH2 0.447
3 Coalinga 46T04 CHP 1983/07/22 (02:39) CO1 0.605
1983/07/25 (22:31) CO2 0.733
4 Imperial Valley 5055 Holtville P.O. 1979/10/15 (23:16) IM1 0.253
1979/10/15 (23:19) IM2 0.211
5 Whittier Narrows 24401 San Marino 1987/10/01 (14:42) WI1 0.204
1987/10/04 (10:59) WI2 0.212
82 M. Hatzivassiliou, G.D. Hatzigeorgiou / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 72 (2015) 77–88

Fig. 10. Local damage index according to the Park-Ang model.

M. Hatzivassiliou, G.D. Hatzigeorgiou / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 72 (2015) 77–88 83

Center [24]. This table also provides with the code names of ground earthquakes and seismic sequences. Furthermore, every irregular
motions examined herein, e.g., CO1, CO2 and COT correspond to the first structure has been analyzed for all the examined siting configurations
and second single (individual) Coalinga seismic events as well as their that have been presented in Section 2.4.
seismic sequence, respectively (i.e., COT¼CO1þCO2, etc.). For compat-
ibility reasons between the seismic analysis and seismic design [25], the
aforementioned seismic events have been appropriately scaled to give, 4. Selected results
for the fundamental period of each structure, identical spectral accel-
eration (for Component (1)) with the design spectrum of EC8 [20]. Thus, This section presents selected results that have to do with the
all these ground motions are multiplied by appropriate factors, which inelastic behavior of the examined RC three-dimensional buildings
are shown in Table 2. It is evident that these factors ranged between under repeated earthquakes. The section focuses on damage indices,
0.454–2.939 (i.e., about 0.5–3.0). These values can be characterized as maximum horizontal displacements, interstorey drift ratios, residual
rational and acceptable according to the basic principles of engineering horizontal displacements, residual interstorey drift ratios and ductility
seismology, which do not allow extreme (very high or very low) scale demands. Finally, the time-history of horizontal displacements for the
factors to multiply the seismic records [26]. Every sequential ground top storey of the structures is also examined.
motion from the PEER database [24] is constructed as a unique seismic
record (serial array) where between two successive seismic events a 4.1. Structural damage
time gap of one hundred seconds is applied which has zero ordinates of
ground acceleration. This gap is enough to calm down the motion of In order to quantify the structural damage of the reinforced
any building due to damping. Every structure is analyzed both for single concrete structures under investigation, the Park-Ang [27] damage
Mammoth Lakes earthquakes / 3-storey reg. bldg (000) Mammoth Lakes earthquakes / 3-storey irreg. bldg (180)

0.1 0. 1
2 2
0. 1 0. 1

p. (m)
. (m)

0.0 0.0
8 8
Max. X- disp

0. 0 0.0

Max. Y-d
6 6
0.0 0. 0
4 4
0.0 0.0
2 2
0 0
M .00 M .00
MA 5 MA 5
2 MA 4 2
St St MA 4
ore MA 3 or MA 3
y 1 MA 2 ey 1 2
1 MA

Mammoth Lakes earthquakes / 5-storey reg. bldg (000) Mammoth Lakes earthquakes / 5-storey irreg. bldg (090) Chalfant Valley earthquakes / 3-storey irreg. bldg (000)

0. 0
0. 12
12 0.0

. (m)
0. 4
0. 10

10 0.0

Max. X- disp

0. 3
0. 08


0. 0. 0
Max. Y- di

06 2
Ma x. Y-d is

06 0.
5 04 0.0
0. 1
5 04 4 0.
0. 0.0
4 02 3 0. CH 0

00 T

3 0. 2



St 2

2 1 or 2







1 1



Chalfant Valley earthquakes / 3-storey irreg. bldg (090) Chalfant Valley earthquakes / 3-storey irreg. bldg (180) Imperial Valley earthquakes / 3-storey reg. bldg (000)

0. 0 0. 0
0.0 5 8
5 0. 0
. (m)

0.0 0. 0 0. 0

4 6

Max. Y-disp

0. 0

0. 0
Max. X-disp.

0 .0
Max. X- disp

3 0.0
3 4
0. 0 3
0.0 2 0. 0
2 2
0.0 0.0 1
1 1 0.0
0.0 3 IM
0.0 0 T
3 CH 0 3 CH
T 2 IM
T St 2
CH or
St 2 CH St 2 ey 1 IM
ore 2 or 2 1
y CH 1 CH
1 1 1

Fig. 11. Maximum horizontal displacements: single seismic events vs. seismic sequences.
84 M. Hatzivassiliou, G.D. Hatzigeorgiou / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 72 (2015) 77–88

Mammoth Lakes earthquakes / 5-storey reg. bldg (000) Mammoth Lakes earthquakes / 5-storey irreg. bldg (000)

0. 0

disp. (m)
0. 0.0
06 5

s. d isp. (m
0. 0. 0
05 4

Max. Y-Res
0. 0.0
04 3
0. 0.0
03 2

Max. Y-Re
0. 0
0. 1
5 02 0
0. 5 MA . 00
4 01 MA T
4 MA 5
3 0.
00 3 MA 4

2 or MA 3



1 1



Coalinga earthquakes / 5-storey reg. bldg (000) Coalinga earthquakes / 5-storey irreg. bldg (000)

0.0 0.0
4 4
disp . (m)

. disp. (m)
0.0 0.0
3 3

Ma x X-Re s.

0. 0

Max. Y-Res
2 2

0.0 0.0
1 1

0.0 0. 0
0 5 CO 0
5 CO T
4 T 4
3 CO
3 CO St 2
St 2 ore 2
or 2 y CO
e y CO 1 1
1 1

Fig. 12. Maximum residual displacements under single and sequential ground motions.

Fig. 13. Time history of horizontal top displacement for 3-storey bldg under Mammoth Lakes earthquakes.

index (DI) is computed. This DI takes into account both the maximum b¼0.05–0.20) to control strength deterioration, Eh is the hysteretic
deformation and the hysteretic energy of structural members and energy absorbed by the element during the earthquake, and Μy is
can be defined as the yield moment of the element. In this work, parameter b is set
equal to 0.05 [11] and the ductility is defined in terms of curvature.
μm bEh
DI ¼ þ ð2Þ Fig. 10 shows the DI for single seismic events and seismic sequences
μu My φu
for characteristic structural members (the members' numbering is
where μm represents the maximum ductility of the element, μu is depicted in Figs. 1–4). It is obvious that seismic sequences cause an
its ultimate ductility, b is a model constant parameter (usually, increment of DI in comparison with single seismic events.
M. Hatzivassiliou, G.D. Hatzigeorgiou / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 72 (2015) 77–88 85

4.2. Maximum horizontal displacements permanent displacements, which are accumulated during oncom-
ing earthquakes and therefore the maximum displacements
The maximum displacements, both for single and for sequen- appear to be increased for the case of seismic sequences in
tial ground motions, are shown in Fig. 11 for various characteristic comparison with the case of single earthquakes. These findings
cases of structures, siting configurations and multiple earthquakes. have been observed for all the examined structures, for any case of
The examined structures subjected to strong motions present siting (for irregular structures) and almost for the entire set of the
examined real seismic sequences under consideration. Finally, it
can be easily concluded examining Fig. 11 that every structure
under consideration may be excited in a different manner for each
individual earthquake, or equivalently, a single earthquake from a
specific seismic sequence can be the most intense for a structure
and less critical for another structure, but for the most of the cases,
seismic sequences generally lead to higher and more intense
response in comparison with the ‘worst’ single earthquakes.

4.3. Maximum residual displacements

Similarly to the aforementioned maximum displacements, seismic

sequences strongly affect residual displacements, too. This phenom-
enon is clearly shown in Fig. 12, which presents selected results, and
this is compatible with the findings of previous research studies that
have to do with single-degree-of-freedom systems [3,6] or planar
multi-storey building structures [11,15,16].
Figs. 13 and 14 show the time history of horizontal displacements
Fig. 14. Time history of horizontal top displacement for 3-storey bldg under occurring at the top of the structures. It is obvious that residual
Imperial Valley earthquakes. displacements are accumulated during the seismic sequence. This

Fig. 15. Maximum IDR under single and sequential ground motions.
86 M. Hatzivassiliou, G.D. Hatzigeorgiou / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 72 (2015) 77–88

Fig. 16. Residual IDR for 3-storey irregular bldg under Mammoth Lakes earthquakes.

Fig. 17. Residual IDR for 5-storey irregular bldg under Mammoth Lakes earthquakes.

finding is also compatible with the conclusions of previous studies 4.6. Ductility demands
A suitable approach to quantify the severity of inelastic
response is the ductility demand, μ, which can be defined in
4.4. Interstorey drift ratio (IDR)
terms of displacement, and rotation or curvature. This study
presents results that are exclusively based on curvature ductility
One of the most critical structural parameter is the interstorey
demand, mϕ, which can be defined as the ratio of ultimate
drift ratio (IDR). This ratio can be defined as the maximum relative
curvature, ϕu, to yield curvature, ϕy, as
displacement between two successive stories normalized to the
storey height and it has been related to the structural or non- ϕp
structural damage [28]. Fig. 15 presents typical characteristic μϕ ¼ ¼ 1þ ð3Þ
ϕy ϕy
examples for the IDR where it is evident that seismic sequences
lead to higher drifts in comparison with the corresponding single
where ϕp is the plastic curvature. This section focuses on the
ground motions.
increment of ductility demands due to the multiplicity of earth-
quakes. Without loss of generality, the inelastic response of
4.5. Residual interstorey drift ratio 5-storey irregular building under the Mammoth Lakes seismic
sequence is examined in the following. Thus, Fig. 18 shows the
Another critical parameter is the residual interstorey drift ratio ductility demands both for single earthquakes and for seismic
(Res.IDR), which has to do with the permanent deformation of a sequence examining member no. 1 (ground floor column, see
structure that remains after a strong ground motion. This para- Fig. 4). In order to examine the effect of earthquake direction
meter is useful to evaluate the seismic performance of a structure incident, Fig. 18 depicts the ductility demands for the whole set of
after a strong earthquake and the potential damage that the incident angles, i.e., for 01, 901, 1801 and 2701, as mentioned and
structure has sustained [29,30]. Figs. 16 and 17 clearly show that analyzed in Section 2.4. It is evident that each incident angle leads
seismic sequences cause increased residual IDR. to different response in comparison with the other cases under
M. Hatzivassiliou, G.D. Hatzigeorgiou / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 72 (2015) 77–88 87

MA1 90
MA2 90
140 140

120 120
135 45 135 45
100 100

80 80

60 60
40 40

Ductility demands
Ductility demands

20 20
0 180 0 0 180 0
20 20
40 40
60 60
80 80
100 100
225 315 225 315
120 120
140 140
270 270
MA3 90
MA4 90
140 140
120 120
135 45 135 45
100 100
80 80
60 60
40 40
Ductility deman ds

Ductility demands

20 20

0 180 0 0 180 0
20 20
40 40
60 60
80 80
100 100
225 315 225 315
120 120
140 140
270 270

135 45
Ductility demands

0 180 0
225 315

Fig. 18. Ductility demands under single and sequential ground motions, for angles 01, 901, 1801, and 2701.
88 M. Hatzivassiliou, G.D. Hatzigeorgiou / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 72 (2015) 77–88

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