ACI Structural Journal/May-June 2010 291

ACI Structural Journal, V. 107, No. 3, May-June 2010.
MS No. S-2008-260.R4 received September 1, 2009, and reviewed under Institute
publication policies. Copyright © 2010, American Concrete Institute. All rights reserved,
including the making of copies unless permission is obtained from the copyright proprietors.
Pertinent discussion including author’s closure, if any, will be published in the March-
April 2011 ACI Structural Journal if the discussion is received by November 1, 2010.
ACI STRUCTURAL JOURNAL TECHNICAL PAPER
Through the use of moment-curvature analyses, trends between
strain and curvature for rectangular reinforced concrete (RC)
sections are explored. Variables in the analyses included section
dimensions, axial load ratio (ALR) and longitudinal steel ratio

long
). Curvature-strain relationships that depend on ALR and
ρ
long
are developed from the results. These expressions are
subsequently used to develop equations to compute interstory drift
as a function of material strains for RC moment frames. The resultant
equations can be used in performance-based design approaches
such as direct displacement-based seismic design to compute
target drifts and system displacements based on concrete and
reinforcing steel strains. The interstory drift equations were
correlated against 54 frame building analyses using a fiber-based
analysis program. The drift expressions are shown to be accurate
to within ±12% and ±20% for steel tension and concrete compression
strain, respectively. Lastly, the implications of the proposed expressions
on current code-based drift and ductility limits are explored.
Keywords: limit states; performance-based design; reinforced concrete frames.
INTRODUCTION
Performance-based seismic design has been the subject of
significant research activity among the earthquake engineering
community for over two decades. According to the Structural
Engineering Association of California (SEAOC) Vision
2000 document (1995), performance-based seismic engineering
(PBSE) consists of a “set of engineering procedures for the
design and construction of structures to achieve predictable
levels of performance in response to specified level of
hazards (design earthquakes), within definable levels of
reliability.” This is accomplished by the definition of
performance objectives that are selected by the owner and
engineer prior to the design. The Direct Displacement-based
design (DDBD) method has evolved as a way to implement
PBSE in a direct manner (Priestley et al. 2007). In general,
PBSE relies on the identification of structural performance
on the basis of limit states that are often defined on the basis
of drift or displacement. The relationship of these deformation
quantities with material strains becomes important because
damage is often assumed to be well correlated with concrete
compression and steel tension strain levels.
This study has three main objectives. The first objective is
the development of dimensionless curvature relationships as
a function of concrete compression and steel tension strains
for rectangular reinforced concrete (RC) sections typically
used for RC building frames. The impact of variables, such
as longitudinal and transverse steel ratios, reinforcement
layouts, and strain levels on curvature, are explored. The
second goal is to study the relationship between interstory
drift, which is a typical parameter used to define target
displacements, and material strains in beam plastic hinges.
Equations are proposed through the use of fiber-based
analysis with OpenSees (McKenna et a1. 2000) of moment
frame structures. Lastly, this paper investigates the impacts
of the proposed equations on current code-based drift and
ductility limits.
RESEARCH SIGNIFICANCE
Several researchers have defined expressions for curvatures
and drifts that are based on material strains. Priestley and
Kowalsky (1998) developed dimensionless yield and
serviceability curvatures for structural wall buildings. Also,
Kowalsky (2000) explored the use of moment-curvature
analysis to develop dimensionless curvature relationships
based on strains for circular RC bridge columns to be used in
displacement-based design methods. Such expressions for
RC moment frames, however, are not available in the literature.
The proposed equations are aimed to fill the gap between
current engineering practice and PBSE methodologies. They
have potential use in numerous PBSE applications including
direct displacement-based design.
PRELIMINARY ANALYSES
FOR CURVATURE-STRAIN RELATIONSHIPS
It is clear that longitudinal steel ratio, section geometry,
material properties, and axial load impact the moment curvature
response of RC sections. It is also clear that transverse steel
ratio and longitudinal bar arrangement will affect the moment-
curvature response. It is perhaps not as straightforward to
determine how each of these variables affects the relationship
between strain and curvature, however. Instead of attempting
to analyze all of these variables in a factorial manner that
would lead to more analyses than are likely needed, an
incremental approach was used. Because longitudinal steel
ratio and section geometry clearly impact the relationship
between strain and curvature and small variations in material
properties can be normalized based on past experience
(Priestley and Kowalsky 2000; Kowalsky 2000), initial analysis
was conducted to study the effect of 1) arrangement of
reinforcing bars (six different arrangements, as shown in
Fig. 1(a)); and 2) volumetric ratio of transverse steel
(Fig. 1(b)), ranging from 0.3 to 1.0%.
The initial analysis was conducted on a “baseline” section
with constant longitudinal steel ratio (2%) and dimensions
Title no. 107-S28
Relationship between Strain, Curvature, and Drift in
Reinforced Concrete Moment Frames in Support of
Performance-Based Seismic Design
by Aidcer L. Vidot-Vega and Mervyn J. Kowalsky
ACI Structural Journal/May-June 2010 292
(20 x 30 in. [500 x 750 mm]). The longitudinal reinforcement
ratio is defined as the ratio of the total longitudinal reinforce-
ment area A
slong
to the gross area of the section. The cover of
all sections was 1.5 in. (40 mm). The bar diameter was 1.125 in.
(28.58 mm). The rest of the properties of Sections 1 to 6
(Fig. 1(a)) are shown in Table 1. The analyses were
performed using a moment-curvature analysis program
(Montejo and Kowalsky 2007). This program uses the
constitutive models developed by Mander et al. (1988) and
King et al. (1986) for concrete and the reinforcing steel,
respectively. The general stress-strain curves for the concrete
and steel are shown in Fig. 2(a) and (b), respectively. In these
figures, f
cc
is the compressive strength of confined concrete,
ε
cc
is the confined concrete strain, E and E
sec
are the tangent
and secant modulus of elasticity of the concrete, F
u
is the
ultimate strength of the steel, and ε
sh
is the hardening strain.
From past comparisons with experimental data, these
expressions have been shown to be accurate for concrete
strengths in the range of 3.6 to 7.2 ksi (25 to 50 MPa), and
for steel yield strengths typically encountered for ASTM
A706 steel (f
y
= 58 to 72 ksi [400 to 500 MPa]). A
compressive concrete strength f
c
′ of 4 ksi (28 MPa) and steel
yield strength f
y
of 65 ksi (450 MPa) was used in all analyses.
The results in this study should be used with caution when
the shapes of the stress-strain curve vary in a significant
manner from those shown in Fig. 2(a) and (b) (for example,
high-strength or lightweight concrete or high-strength or low
ductility steel). The stress-strain models used in this work
will be appropriate in the vast majority of cases for building
design in the U.S. that utilizes ASTM A706, Grade 60, or, in
some cases, ASTM A615, Grade 60, steel.
From the moment-curvature analyses, the curvatures were
identified at discrete levels of concrete compression and
steel tension strain. Concrete compression strain is that
measured at the extreme compression fiber, with the neutral
axis also measured from the extreme fiber. Steel tension
strains are those at the location of the extreme tension bar.
The curvatures were normalized to the total section depth
and were plotted against material strains to study the impact
of the previously described variables. The dimensionless
curvatures are represented by K = φH, where H is the depth
of the section. The results of the analyses on the sections
shown in Fig. 1(a) are shown in Fig. 3. Figure 3(a) represents
the curvature as a function of steel tension strain, whereas
Fig. 3(b) represents the curvature as a function of concrete
compression strain. From this data, it is clear that, in most
cases, reinforcement layout has little impact on the relationship
between curvature and strain, with the exception of when the
reinforcement is concentrated solely in one layer on the
tension and compression sides (Section 1). This section has
the largest amount of compression steel and the smallest
amount of tension steel of any of the sections, thus resulting
in the trends shown in Fig. 3, which were expected. Of
Aidcer L. Vidot-Vega is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering
Science and Materials at University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (UPRM), Puerto
Rico, where she received her BS and MS. She received her PhD from North Carolina
State University, Raleigh, NC.
Mervyn J. Kowalsky is a Professor in the Department of Civil, Construction, and
Environmental Engineering at North Carolina State University. He is a member of
ACI Committees 213, Lightweight Aggregate and Concrete; 341, Earthquake-Resistant
Concrete Bridges; 374, Performance-Based Seismic Design of Concrete Buildings;
and Joint ACI-ASCE-TMS Committee 530, Masonry Standards Joint Committee.
Fig. 1—Cross sections: (a) in initial set of analyses (Sections 1 to
6); and (b) with different transverse steel percentage.
Fig. 2—Stress-strain curve for: (a) unconfined and confined
concrete (Mander et al. 1988); and (b) reinforcing steel
(King et al. 1986).
Fig. 3—Dimensionless curvatures versus material strains
for first set of analyses: (a) steel; and (b) concrete.
Table 1—Distance of longitudinal steel bars from top of Sections 1 to 6
Section
D
layers
, in. (mm)
1 2 3 4 5 6
1 2.14 (54.29) 27.40 (695.71) — — — —
2 2.14 (54.29) 10.60 (268.20) 18.98 (482.12) 27.40 (695.71) — —
3 2.14 (54.29) 6.65 (168.87) 22.89 (581.45) 27.40 (695.71) — —
4 2.14 (54.29) 22.59 (573.87) 27.40 (695.71) — — —
5 2.14 (54.29) 7.19 (182.67) 12.25 (311.05) 17.30 (439.43) 22.35 (567.81) 27.40 (695.71)
6 2.14 (54.29) 8.45 (214.76) 14.77 (375.2) 21.09 (535.66) 27.40 (695.71) —
ACI Structural Journal/May-June 2010 293
course, this is not surprising; however, it is interesting to
note that all other sections that had different layouts had very
minor differences between strain and curvature.
In the analysis of the sections shown in Fig. 1(b), the
primary objective was to study the effects of transverse steel
ratio and axial load on the relationship between longitudinal
strain and section curvature. These results are shown in
Fig. 4. Note that in Fig. 4 (a) and (b), which compare
Sections 1 and 1(a), where the only difference is transverse
steel amounts (0.3% and 0.6%, respectively), there is little
impact on the relationship between strain and curvature. A
similar result can be seen in Fig. 4(c) and (d), which
compares Sections 2, 2(a), and 2(b) (0.3%, 0.6%, and 1.0%,
respectively). It is important to note that this does not imply
that all of these sections have the same strain capacity. It is
clear that a more highly confined section will have a higher
strain capacity. What is shown in these figures is that up to
the deformation capacity of the most lightly confined
section, the relationship between strain and curvature was
not affected by the amount of transverse steel.
On the basis of these initial analyses, additional analyses
were carried out with reinforcing bars distributed along the
entire perimeter because such a configuration was effective
at describing all reinforcement bar layouts, with the exception
of the concentrated reinforcement bar case. It is also worth
noting that sections (both beam and column) with distributed
reinforcing steel were heavily favored for seismic design
(Priestley et al. 1996), making this a fortuitous outcome.
Subsequent analyses also use only one level of transverse
steel, as it had little impact on the results.
SUBSEQUENT ANALYSIS FOR CURVATURE
STRAIN RELATIONSHIPS
Following the initial series of analysis, rectangular
sections used in the subsequent analysis included sections
with the following geometry: 20 x 30, 12 x 20, 16 x 24, 10 x
17, 20 x 40, 20 x 47, 24 x 40, and 28 x 40 in. (500 x 750,
300 x 500, 400 x 600, 255 x 425, 500 x 1000, 500 x 1200,
600 x 1000, and 700 x 1000 mm). The longitudinal reinforce-
ment ratio varied from 0.5 to 6% to cover typical beam and
column reinforcement ranges. The longitudinal bar sizes
varied from 0.5 to 1.75 in. (12.70 to 44.75 mm) to reach the
defined longitudinal reinforcement ratios. The axial load
ratio was varied from 0 to 0.5 for compression loads and
from 0 to –0.10 for tension loads. As previously noted, the
transverse reinforcement ratio was kept constant in all
sections because the first series of analysis described in this
paper indicated that different levels of transverse steel ratio
had little impact on the relationship between curvature and
strain. A total of 648 section configurations were analyzed.
Section curvatures were obtained for concrete compression
strains ε
c
of 0.004, 0.010, 0.014, 0.018, 0.03, and 0.04 and
steel tension strains ε
s
of 0.010, 0.015, 0.03, 0.04, 0.06, and
0.09. Curvatures were again normalized to the section depth
and were plotted versus axial load ratio for the nine longitudinal
steel ratios considered. Examples of these plots are shown in
Fig. 5(a) and (b) for a section with dimensions of 20 x 30 in.
(500 x 750 mm) and a longitudinal steel ratio of 2% and 4%,
respectively. Similar plots can be obtained for the other
sections (Vidot-Vega 2008). The solid lines in Fig. 5(a) and
(b) represent curvatures φ based on concrete compression
strains (at the unconfined extreme compression fiber),
whereas the dashed lines represent curvatures defined by
extreme steel tension bar strains. It can be noted that the
section curvatures at constant concrete compression strains
are strongly influenced by the axial load ratio (ALR) and
longitudinal steel ratio. For tension or low compression axial
loads, the section curvatures varied considerably, especially
when the section had a low longitudinal steel ratio. Section
curvatures became more linear for both compression and
tension strains as the longitudinal steel ratio increased,
particularly for low levels of strains. The section curvatures
at constant steel tension strains showed very little variation
with the longitudinal steel ratio. In addition, the ALR had a
minimal impact on section curvature at constant steel strains,
especially at low levels of tension strains. The entire data set
was analyzed to obtain a relationship for dimensionless
curvature that depends on the ALR, longitudinal reinforcement
ratio, concrete compression strain ε
c
, and steel tension strain ε
s
.
STRAIN-BASED CURVATURE EQUATIONS
Equation 1(a) to (c) (concrete compression strain) and
Eq. (2) (steel tension strain) represent the proposed equations
based on analysis of the data. These equations represent the
average values of the fits performed on the eight sections
described previously to provide a best estimate of the section
curvatures. In Eq. (1) and (2), the longitudinal steel ratio
ρ
long
was expressed by the mechanical reinforcing ratio ω
s
,
which is given by Eq. (3). ALR are expressed (Eq. (4)) as the
ratio of the axial load over the product of the compressive
concrete strength f
c
′ and the gross section area A
gross
. The
equations are also a function of the cover ratio cR, given by
Eq. (5), which varied from 0.65 to 0.92. In Eq. (4), f
y
is the
Fig. 4—Dimensionless curvatures versus steel and concrete
strains for Sections 1 and 1A, 2, 2A, and 2B.
Fig. 5—Dimensionless curvatures for equal strain lines: (a)
2%; and (b) 4% ρ
long
.
ACI Structural Journal/May-June 2010 294
yield strength of the longitudinal steel. The range of application
of the equations is shown.
Concrete compression strain based
(1a)
(1b)
(1c)
Steel tension strain based
(2)
(3)
(4)
cR = (d – d′)/ H (5)
There are three equations to define the relationship
between curvature and concrete compression strain and only
one to define the relationship between curvature and steel
tension strain. This reflects the higher degree of variation
between concrete compression strain and curvature.
Equation (1a) attempts to define the entire concrete
compression strain versus curvature relationship; however,
as will be seen in the following, it results in a higher error
than Eq. (1b) and (1c), which subdivide the data set into two
parts while eliminating axial load as a variable. Because the
primary interest will be for beam members, Eq. (1b) and (1c)
were developed. Whereas beams are clearly subjected to
axial forces due to column shear forces in a moment frame,
the response on a story-by-story basis is best described by
the average beam axial load of zero. Also, beam axial loads
are generally small, supporting the use of expressions with
zero axial load for beams.
The ratio between the curvatures calculated K
calc
with the
proposed equations and with moment-curvature analyses
K
MC
was obtained and statistical analyses were performed to
determine the accuracy of these equations. Tables 2 to 3
present the mean and standard deviation of the curvature
ratio (K
calc
/ K
MC
) according to several values of longitudinal
steel ratio and material strains using Eq. (1a) and (2). It can
be seen that for Eq. (1a) the mean varies from 0.938 to 1.053
and the standard deviation from 0.08 to 0.152. In general, the
standard deviation decreased as the axial load and ρ
long
increased, and the concrete compression strains decreased.
However, the mean obtained from Eq. (1b) and (1c) for axial
loads equal to zero was 0.96 considering concrete
compression strains. The standard deviation was less than
0.11 for Eq. (1b) and (1c). It can be observed in Table 3
that the standard deviation was less than 0.095 and the
mean varied from 1.007 to 1.051 using Eq. (2). Figures 6(a)
and (b) and 7(a) and (b) show the curvature ratio K
calc
/ K
MC
as a function of the longitudinal steel ratio and material strains
using Eq. (1a) and (1c) and Eq. (2), respectively. The agreement
is much better for the Eq. (1b) and (1c) and Eq. (2) when
compared to Eq. (1a) and, in general, it improved for
longitudinal steel ratios higher than 2%.
DRIFT-STRAIN RELATIONSHIPS
FOR RC FRAME BUILDINGS
This section investigates the relationships between strain
and interstory drift. This was accomplished by using the
previous dimensionless curvature Eq. (1) and (2) and the
K
c
ΦH 2.8ε
c
ω
s
0.3 –
e
0.8∗ALR∗ω
s
0.5 –
– ( )
= =
0.009 ρ
long
0.05 0.05 ALR 0.40, ≤ ≤ , ≤ ≤
0.004 ε
c
0.04 ≤ ≤
K
c
ΦH 2.3cR 0.8 + ( )ω
s
1.7cR 1 – ( ) –
ε
c
0.005 + = =
0.005 ρ
long
0.021 ALR 0 0.004 ε
c
0.040, < ≤ , = , ≤ ≤
0.60 cR 0.95 < ≤
K
c
ΦH 1.6

ω
s
– 4 + ( )ε
c
0.005 + = =
0.022 ρ
long
0.06 ALR 0 0.004 ε
c
0.040, < ≤ , = , ≤ ≤
0.60 cR 0.95 < ≤
K
c
ΦH 1.75ε
s
ω
s
0.15
e
0.75∗ALR∗ω
s
0.30 –
( )
= =
0.005 ρ
long
0.06 0.01 A ≤ – LR 0.05 ≤ , ≤ ≤
0.001 ε
s
0.090 < ≤
ω
s
ρ
long
f
y
f
c

----- =
ALR
P
A
gross
f
c

-------------------- =
Table 2—Statistical parameters for K
calc
/K
MC
using Eq. (1a) for concrete strain
ε
c
0.004 0.01 0.014 to 0.018 0.02 to 0.022 0.025 to 0.03 0.04 Total
x 0.938 0.978 0.990 1.001 1.019 1.053 0.998
σ 0.099 0.099 0.114 0.124 0.130 0.135 0.122
ρ
long
0.01 to 0.015 0.02 to 0.023 0.025 to 0.026 0.03 to 0.033 0.04 to 0.043 0.048 to 0.052 Total
x 0.993 1.017 1.008 1.010 0.996 0.974 0.998
σ 0.152 0.122 0.113 0.109 0.105 0.088 0.122
Table 3—Statistical parameters for K
calc
/K
MC
using Eq. (2) for steel strain
ε
s
0.01 0.015 0.03 0.04 0.06 0.09 Total
x 1.051 1.048 1.027 1.021 1.013 1.007 1.031
σ 0.081 0.087 0.095 0.093 0.088 0.083 0.090
ρ
long
0.01 to 0.015 0.016 to 0.023 0.025 to 0.027 0.028 to 0.033 0.04 to 0.043 0.048 to 0.06 Total
x 1.042 1.029 1.034 1.027 1.020 1.022 1.031
σ 0.085 0.088 0.094 0.095 0.095 0.088 0.090
ACI Structural Journal/May-June 2010 295
results from computer analyses. A total of 54 frame buildings
having 2, 4, 8, 12, and 16 stories were designed using direct
displacement-based design (Priestley et al. 2007) and
capacity design principles. The buildings were symmetrical
with two and three bays. Beam aspect ratios, defined by the
ratio of the beam length to the beam depth (L
B
/H
B
), were
varied from 6.5 to 15 (Table 4). These frames deformed
according to the beam-sway mechanism, in which plastic
hinges at the ends of the beams and at the column base of the
first floor were formed. As a consequence, the results should
not be extrapolated to frames that do not satisfy this failure
mechanism (for example, older RC frames with deficient
detailing resulting in soft story mechanisms or extensive
column hinging due to dynamic amplification of moments in
taller buildings). Also, the equations should not be used for
beam aspect ratios smaller or higher that the ones considered
in this study. Rectangular and square reinforced concrete
sections were used for the beams and columns, respectively.
The sections were modeled using the fiber element approach.
The elements were modeled using a lumped plasticity
approach, which in OpenSees (McKenna et al. 2000)
program is achieved by the use of the “beam with hinges”
element (Scott and Fenves 2006). The confined and unconfined
concrete in the fiber sections was modeled using the Kent
and Park (1971) concrete model with degraded linear
unloading/reloading stiffness (Karsan and Jirsa 1969). The
steel was modeled using a reinforcing steel model developed
by Moehle and Kunnath (2006). The bond slip (yield
penetration) was not directly modeled in the members. The
plastic hinge length does account for this indirectly
through the length of strain penetration, however, thus
addressing the impact of bar slip on the strain versus
displacement. The 54 frame models were analyzed in
OpenSees (McKenna et al. 2000) program under monotonic
loading until 3 to 5% drift. The strains were taken at the
extreme steel tension bar and at the extreme concrete
fiber (cover).
Until yield, the interstory drift θ
j
is assumed to be approx-
imately equal to the beam rotation. This assumption will be
verified in the following. After yield, the interstory drift was
expressed in terms of the beam rotation and frame yield drift.
The beam rotation θ
beam
is expressed in terms of the
curvatures (K/H
B
) using Eq. (6). The beam yield drift (Eq. (8))
can be found elsewhere (Priestley et al. 2007) and was
derived by engineering mechanics principles. In these
equations, L
p
is the plastic hinge length (Priestley et al.
2007), H
B
is the depth of the beam, L
B
is the length of the
beam, F
u
is the ultimate steel strength, d
bl
is the longitudinal
bar diameter, and ε
y
is the steel yield strain. The dimensionless
yield curvature (Priestley and Kowalsky 1998) is given by
Eq. (9). The dimensionless curvatures K were obtained by
using Eq. (1) and (2) for concrete compression and steel
tension strains, respectively.
(6)
(7)
(8)
(9)
Figure 8 (a) and (b) show the beam rotations and interstory
drift as a function of steel tension strains for two cases. Similar
results were obtained for all 54 cases (Vidot-Vega 2008). It
can be seen that the interstory drift and beam rotations are very
similar. After yield, the beam rotations were slightly larger
than the interstory drift. This is likely due to the shortened
length between beam plastic hinges, thus resulting in higher
beam rotations when compared to the interstory drift. As the
difference is small, however, the interstory drift can be
approximated by the use of the beam rotations. This implies
that the interstory drift (or joint rotations) can be estimated
θ
beam
θ
by
K K
Y
– ( )
L
p
H
B
-------
\ .
| |
+ =
L
p
max
kL 0.022F
y
d
bl
+
0.044F
y
d
bl
¹ )
´ `
¦ ¹
k ; 0.2
F
u
F
Y
------ 1 –
\ .
| |
0.08; ≤ = =
L L
B
2 ⁄ (double bending) =
θ
by
K
Y
L
B
6H
B
----------
\ .
| |
=
K
Y
φ
Y
H
B
2.1ε
y
= =
Table 4—Beam aspect ratios for cases with n stories
and numbers of bays
n
Beam aspect ratios (L
B
/H
B
)
2 4 8 12 16
Two-
bay
7.60, 9.50,
11.25
7.0, 9.0, 9.5,
9.78, 12.0
7.0, 9.0, 9.1,
9.25, 9.5,
11.1, 15.0
7.0, 8.0, 9.0,
10.0, 11.0,
12.0
6.5, 9.0,
9.25, 9.5,
10.0, 10.59,
12.0
Three-
bay

7.0, 8.5,
10.0, 10.0,
13.0. 14.0,
14.5, 15.0
7.0, 10.0,
13.0. 14.0,
14.5, 15.0
7.0, 8.5,
10.0, 11.5,
12.0, 13.0.
14.0, 15.0
7.0, 10.0,
11.5, 13.0.
14.0, 15.0
Fig. 6—Curvature ratio K
calc
/K
MC
versus: (a) longitudinal
steel ratio; and (b) concrete strain for Eq. (1a) to (1c).
Fig. 7—Curvature ratio K
calc
/K
MC
versus: (a) longitudinal
steel ratio; and (b) steel strain for Eq. (2).
Fig. 8—Rotations versus steel strains for: (a) four stories,
two-bays; and (b) 12 stories, two-bays.
296 ACI Structural Journal/May-June 2010
using the beam rotation expressions developed in the previous
section with some minor changes.
STRAIN-BASED DRIFT AND DISPLACEMENT
DUCTILITY EQUATIONS
To develop the strain-based drift equations, the beam rotation
expressions (Eq. (6)) shown previously were used with some
modifications. To be useful for design, the axial load in the
beams was assumed to be equal to zero because under the
action of seismic loads in both directions, there is the
possibility for tension and compression loads at opposite
ends of the beams; and their average will be approximately
equal to zero. Also, to simplify the drift expressions, only
Eq. (1c) was used for concrete compression strains. The
beam yield drift was modified to account for shear deformation
components. The yield drift (Eq. (11)) includes the contribution
of several components according to Priestley (1998) such as
1) the joint rotation due to shear and flexure; and 2) column
deformation due to shear and flexure. The general form of
the drift θ
j
expressions is shown in Eq. (10). A factor (β) was
added to the equation to account for the slightly larger beam
rotations (compared to the joint rotation) as the inelastic
deformations increases (Fig. 8). A power fitting was
performed to the data from moment-curvature analyses to
find the factor (β) to modify the beam rotation expressions
previously shown.
(10)
(11)
Substituting Eq. (2) for ALR = 0 and Eq. (11) into the drift
equation based on steel tension strain results in Eq. (12).
Using steel tension strain
(12)
Now, substituting the yield drift (Eq. (11)) and the curvatures
(Eq. (1b) and (1c)) into Eq. (10), the drift equation for
concrete compression strain can be shown as Eq. (13).
Using concrete compression strain
(13)
Displacement ductility expressions based on concrete
compression and steel tension strains were obtained by
dividing the (Eq. (12) and (13)) by the yield drift and are
given by Eq. (14) and (15).
Using steel tension strain
(14)
Using concrete compression strain
θ
j
θ
y
K K
Y
– ( )
L
p
H
B
-------
\ .
| |
+ β =
θ
y
0.5ε
y
L
B
H
B
-------
\ .
| |
=
θ
j
0.5ε
Y
L
B
H
B
-------
\ .
| |
1.75ε
s
ω
s
0.15
K
y
– ( )
L
p
H
B
-------
\ .
| |
+ 0.70ε
s
0.080 –
=
θ
j
0.5ε
Y
L
B
H
B
-------
\ .
| |
+ =
1.6

ω
s
– 4 + ( )ε
c
0.004 K
y
– + ( )
L
p
H
B
-------
\ .
| |
0.85ε
c
0.065 –
µ
∆s
1
2
ε
y
----
\ .
| |
1.75ε
s
ω
s
0.15
K
y
– ( ) L
p
L
B
⁄ ( ) + 0.70ε
s
0.080 –
=
(15)
In the aforementioned, K
y
and L
p
are obtained from Eq. (9)
and (7), respectively. The accuracy of the proposed equations
is explored in the following.
ACCURACY OF STRAIN-BASED
DRIFT EQUATIONS
The ratio from the drift obtained from the computer

OpenSees
) analysis and the proposed equations (θ
calc
) was
tabulated for all cases as a function of steel tension and
concrete compression strains to determine the accuracy of
these equations. The ratio calculated here uses Eq. (12) and
(13) without the inclusion of the shear deformation
components in the yield drift equation. This was done for
comparison purposes only because the computer analyses
did not include the effects of member shear deformations on
joint rotation. Thus, the yield drift was calculated only with
beam flexural components (Eq. (6)). For design, it is
recommended to include all the components in the yield drift
equation as presented in Eq. (12) and (13). These results are
shown in Fig. 9 (a) to (d) and 10 (a) to (d) for steel tension
and concrete compression strain, respectively. The list of
number of bays and beam aspect ratios appears in the legend
of each plot. The plots were divided according to the number
of stories. It can be seen that the difference between the drifts
from the analysis and proposed equations for steel tension
strains is less than 12% for all cases. For concrete compression
strain, the differences between the calculated drift and those
obtained from computer simulations are as high as 22% for
some cases. In general, errors for concrete compression
strain equations are higher for beam aspect ratios less than
7.6 or greater than 14.5 as well as for taller buildings (12-
and 16-story) with three bays. This can be attributed to
changes in the inflection points of the deflected shape for the
beams and columns that do not exactly represent the middle
points of each element. The results obtained from the
proposed equations, however, are quite good for all ranges of
interstory drift and strains considered in this study. The mean
and standard deviations were calculated for all cases (Table
5). The mean for the ratio θ
OpenSees

calc
ranged between
0.87 to 1.00 for concrete compression strain and 0.97 to 1.06
for steel tension strain. The standard deviations varied from
0.059 to 0.091 and 0.029 to 0.042 for concrete and steel
strains, respectively.
DRIFT AND DUCTILITY EXPRESSIONS
VERSUS CURRENT CODE LIMITS
The final objective of this paper is to discuss the implications
of the strain-based drift and ductility equations proposed in
µ
∆C
1
2
ε
y
----
 
 
1.6

ω
s
– 4 + ( )ε
c
0.004 K
y
– + ( ) L
p
L
B
⁄ ( ) + 0.85ε
c
0.065 –
=
Table 5—Statistical parameters for all cases
Strain
Statistical
parameter
θ
OpenSees

calc
No. of stories
2 4 8 12 16 Total
Concrete
strain
Mean 0.869 0.90 0.96 1.06 1.00 0.95
Standard
deviation
0.062 0.059 0.069 0.077 0.091 0.072
Steel strain
Mean 1.06 1.01 0.98 0.97 1.00 1.00
Standard
deviation
0.037 0.039 0.041 0.029 0.042 0.038
ACI Structural Journal/May-June 2010 297
this paper when compared to ASCE 7-05 code guidelines.
Interstory drift ratios for concrete compression (Eq. (13))
and steel tension strains (Eq. (12)) were obtained for
different values of ρ
long
including shear deformation
components. These drifts are shown in Fig. 11 as a function
of the beam aspect ratio and for a section with ρ
long
= 2.5%.
Different values of concrete compression (Fig. 11(a)) and
steel tension strains (Fig. 11(b)) were considered. Each
figure also includes the drift limits defined in ASCE 7-05 for
RC frames of 0.015 (occupancy Category IV) and 0.025
(occupancy Categories I and II).
Whereas drift limits are not necessarily linked to structural
damage, such limits exist; and it is interesting to study the
implied levels of structural damage as defined by material
strain for a prescribed drift limit. As noted in Fig. 11, the
strains in beam plastic hinges vary considerably depending
on the beam aspect ratio. As the beam aspect ratio becomes
larger, the code drift limits can be nearly accommodated
only with elastic response. This result implies that at the
code-based drift limit, varying levels of structural damage
will be evident, depending on building configuration. Of
course, drift ratio limits have as their primary purpose to
control nonstructural damage, rather than structural damage,
in which case the code limits are reasonable. It is the interplay
between the implied level of structural performance based on
code-drift limits and force-reduction factors that is perhaps
most interesting to explore, however.
Fig. 9—Drift ratio comparison as function of steel tension strain for: (a) two- and four-
story; (b) eight-story; (c) 12-story; and (d) 16-story frame cases with several beam aspect
ratios and number of bays at first floor.
Fig. 10—Drift ratio comparison as function of concrete compression strain for: (a) four-
story; (b) eight-story; (c) 12-story; and (d) 16-story frame cases with several beam aspect
ratios and number of bays at first floor.
298 ACI Structural Journal/May-June 2010
Shown in Fig. 12 are the displacement ductility values
computed with Eq. (14) and (15) as a function of beam
aspect ratio for a section with a ρ
long
of 0.025, the implied
ductility level based on the ASCE 7-05 C
d
of 5.5 for special
RC moment frames, and the displacement ductilities
achieved using ASCE 7-05 drift limits. Displacement
ductilities decreased as the ρ
long
increased in the section for
concrete compression strains and vice versa for steel tension
strains. For the implied ductility level of 5.5 based on C
d
, the
damage level, as defined by strains in beam plastic hinges,
will vary greatly. This indicates that the use of a constant
force reduction factor does not imply a constant level of
damage across a variety of building geometries for a given
structure type. Also from Fig. 12, it can be noted that the
implied level of ductility based on the code drift limits was
rarely in agreement with the displacement amplification (and
hence force reduction factor). As a result, in many cases, the
code drift limit will govern the design with ductility levels
far smaller than that implied by the force reduction factor
given by the same code. Whereas such an outcome is
acceptable, the problem arises with regard to the method in
which drifts are typically evaluated in force-based design.
Consider an example of a moment frame with an aspect ratio
of 8 that is designed using ASCE 7-05. From Fig. 12, the
drift limit for this aspect ratio will govern design; and if the
limit of 2.5% applies, then the actual displacement ductility
level will be approximately 3. The force reduction factor and
displacement amplification factor for a concrete moment
frame, however, are 8 and 5.5, respectively. Then, the engineer
designing this structure would divide the elastic base shear
by 8, magnify the elastic displacements by 5.5, and compare
the resulting drifts with the code limit of 2.5% where the
actual displacement ductility is 3. If the drifts are greater than
2.5% in any story, the engineer would follow by strengthening
(and as a result, stiffening) the structure until the evaluated
drifts are less than 2.5%. This approach would be acceptable
if the displacement magnification factor equals the actual
ductility level at the drift limit; however, that is rarely the
case (Fig. 12). It should be noted that this does not suggest
that structures designed by such an approach are unsafe. To
the contrary, they are likely to have greater than required
strength and required ductility capacity, both of which are
fine for life safety considerations. Such an approach,
however, is of limited value if one desires to implement
some form of performance-based seismic design. A much
more logical approach would be to determine design
displacement levels based on both material strains in plastic
hinges as well as nonstructural drift limits, with the lower of
the two governing. Then, that displacement and its corre-
sponding ductility level are used for design, thus eliminating
the need for an arbitrary choice of the force reduction and
displacement amplification factor.
CONCLUSIONS
This study had three main objectives:
1. Develop dimensionless curvature relationships as a
function of material strains for rectangular RC sections
typically used for RC building frames.
2. Study the relationship between interstory drift and
material strains in beam plastic hinges.
3. Investigate the impacts of the proposed equations on
current code-based drift and ductility limits.
The proposed expressions depend on the ALR, mechanical
steel ratio, material strains (steel and concrete), beam aspect
ratio, and cover ratio. These expressions are intended for
sections with bars distributed around the perimeter. The
research indicated the following: 1) curvatures at concrete
compression strains are strongly influenced by the ALR and
ρ
long
, 2) constant steel tension strains show little variation
with the ρ
long
and ALR, and 3) constant values of drift ratios
and ductility demands imposed in building codes are
generally not in agreement with each other, and that in
neither case do they imply uniform levels of damage.
The proposed expressions based on steel tension and
concrete compression strains are accurate to within less than
12% and 22%, respectively, which is perhaps sufficient
when one considers the variations found in seismic design.
These expressions are valid for RC moment frames that have
been designed to develop beam swing mechanisms and for
the range of variables considered in this study. Also, the
accuracy of these equations is impacted by the models used
for the concrete and steel materials in the analyses. Further
studies in this area include the study of the impact of load
history on the proposed relationships.
NOTATION
A
gross
= gross section area
A
slong
= longitudinal steel area
cR = cover ratio
d
bl
= longitudinal bar diameter
E and E
sec
= concrete tangent and secant modulus of elasticity
F
u
= ultimate steel strength
f
c
′ = compressive concrete strength
f
cc
= confined concrete strength
f
y
= yield strength of longitudinal steel
H = section depth
H
B
= depth of beam
K = dimensionless curvature
K
y
= yield dimensionless curvature
L = member length
L
B
= length of beam
L
p
= plastic hinge length
β = factor to modify drift
ε
c
and ε
s
= concrete compression and steel tension strains
ε
sh
= steel hardening strain
ε
y
= steel yield strain
Fig. 11—(a) Interstory drift for equal concrete compression
strains; and (b) tension steel strain lines.
Fig. 12—(a) Displacement ductility for equal concrete
compression strains; and (b) tension steel strain lines.
ACI Structural Journal/May-June 2010 299
Φ = curvature
µ

= displacement ductility
µ
∆C
= displacement ductility based on concrete compression strain
µ
∆S
= displacement ductility based on steel tension strain
θ
beam
= beam rotation
θ
by
= yield beam rotation
θ
j
= interstory drift
θ
y
= frame yield drift
ρ
long
= longitudinal reinforcement ratio
ω
s
= mechanical reinforcing ratio
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