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Nonlinear Pushover Analysis of Steel Frame Structure

Dahal, Purna P., Graduate Student

Southern Illinois University, Carbondale
The applicability of the SAP2000 software for the nonlinear pushover analysis is documented. The two
story steel frame structure is modeled for moderate earthquake. Different stages of deformation followed
by hinges formation is studied for the prediction of post yielding behavior using pushover analysis tool
included in the software. Damage in the structure is identified by plastic hinges at different level of safety
definition from FEMA-356 and ATC 40. Frame performance for the lateral load is interpreted with family
of capacity-demand curves.
Keywords: Nonlinear Analysis, pushover analysis, hinges, steel frame structures,
Linear elastic analysis of the structural member
is based on stresses up to yield stress. Material is
considered as perfectly elastic before yielding.
Equation of equilibrium is written on the
undeformed configuration which seems to be
limited approach of the analysis procedure. To
improve this inadequacy, a concept of nonlinear
analysis is introduced. Nonlinear analysis
considers the deformed geometry and nonlinear
behavior of the material. The load resisting
behavior is significantly affected when
nonlinearities included in the analysis [6].
Nonlinear analysis involves with huge iteration
process. Since material stiffness will be reduced
in each increment loading, the analysis is
performed for secant stiffness of the member.
This method of analysis in the seismic design is
used for (a) to assess and design seismic retrofit
solutions for existing structure (b) design new
structure that employ structural materials,
systems, or other features that do not conform to
current building code requirements (c) assess the
performance of structure
for specific
requirements [7].
The main purpose of present study is to perform
nonlinear analysis using commercial nonlinear
finite element software SAP2000 [8] and to

investigate the failure behavior of steel frame for

the quake load. The failure behavior will be used
in performance based design of structure. The
nonlinear static analysis is carried out for the
general loading on two story steel frame and
lateral seismic load is applied to perform
pushover analysis at specified displacement. The
various pushover curve, load-deformation curve
are presented.
Frame structure is loaded first with general
loading and then pushover load is applied
monotonically at its deformed configuration of
general loading. 2nd story (from Joint 3 indicated
in figure 1) displacement is monitored up to 12
inches. Lateral allowable story drift is taken
from table12.12-1, ASCE7-10[2] as 6.48 inches
defined by following expression.
=0.02h, h = story height form ground label
After yielding, plastic hinges will form at
different location indicating the risk of occupant
as shown in the figure 4. The performance point
is calculated from the guideline defined in
FEMA-356 and ATC-40.

as a guideline for practicing engineer. ATC-40

[1], FEMA-356 [4], FEMA-273 [5] are well
known available document to perform pushover
analysis. In SAP2000, hinge will be added at the
each stage when the structure yielded to the
prescribed level defined in FEMA-356 and ATC
40. The performance of the structure is
determined by hinges formation. Various types
of plastic hinges: uncoupled/coupled moment,
torsion, axial force and shear hinges are
available. In this study, uncouple moment hinges
are presented.

Joint 3
2nd Story
12 ft



1 Story



Figure 1- Steel frame Structure (A992Fy50)

Table 1: Section and Loading Properties of
2-Story Steel Frame








Loading for

In SAP2000, material nonlinearity can be define

from its stress strain relationship (figure 2).

Fig 3: Expected Capacity Curve of the frame



Stress (Kips/in2)







Figure 2 Stress relationship for Steel

Pushover Analysis:
To identify the nonlinear response for the
seismic hazard assessment of the structure, a
nonlinear static analysis called pushover analysis
has been carried out. Many researches were
done [3] for the performance study of structure
and the outcome of the research are documented

Figure 4 Risk indicator curve

The lateral force is applied at the deformed state
of the general loading from point A. No hinges
will formed before point B where structure will
shows linear behavior and after that one or more
hinges will start to form. Software will shows
hinges with following remarkable indication:
Immediate Occupancy (IO) yielding of steel,
nonstructural damage will arises

Life Safety (LS) - damage of structural and

nonstructural components will starts. We have to
make essential circulation routes accessible to
minimize risk of injury and causality for this
Collapse Prevention (CP) This point ensure a
small risk of partial or complete building
collapse by limiting structural deformations and
forces to the onset of significant strength and
stiffness degradation.
Point C is the indication of ultimate capacity of
the structure and Point D indicate residual
strength for the structure. Complete failure will
occur at point E.
The capacity and demand curve is plotted for the
seismic coefficient Ca and Cv as 0.7 considering
moderate earthquake zone.
Figure 6 Base Shear Vs Roof Displacement
(Joint 3) Curve

The capacity-demand curve is plotted as shown
in figure 5. The behavior of the structure is
observed with unique indicator until the failure

The frame is pushed well into inelastic range.

The demand curve meets capacity curve at 5.1 in
displacement of joint 3 with base shear 260.7
kips (step 3-4).



Demand Curve

Figure 5 Capacity/Demand Spectrum

Step -2

Step 3

Step -7

Step -4

Step-8 (collapse of 1st story column)

Figure 6 Plastic Hinges formation steps 1-8
Conclusion and Discussion:

Step 5

Pushover analysis is very useful tool to identify

the behavior of structure to the incremental
loading. The frame structure modeled for the
seismic coefficient 0.7 defined in ATC40 can
perform well. Permanent hinges starts to form at
roof displacement 10.72 inches which is far
more than allowable lateral drift as per ASCE 7.
Present study concludes that:
a. The Nonlinear analysis is essential to
observe the behavior of structure.
b. Nonlinear pushover analysis feature
available in SAP2000 software can be
used to predict post yielding mechanism
in of the structure.

Step 6

Since the aim of the study is to identify

applicability of the SAP2000 software for
nonlinear pushover analysis for frame structure,
further research is needed to find usefulness of
the software for nonlinear analysis of solid
structure like shear wall, dam foundation etc.

1) Applied Technology Council, ATC-40,
Seismic evaluation and retrofit of
concrete Buildings, California, 1996;
Vols. 1 and 2.
2) ASCE 7-2010, Minimum Design Loads
for Buildings and Other Structures.
3) Chopra, A.K., and Goel, R.K. (2002).
A Modal Pushover Analysis Procedure
for Estimating Seismic Demands for
Buildings. Earthquake Engineering and
Structural Dynamics, Vol.31, pp. 561582.
4) Federal Emergency Federal Agency,
Commentary for Seismic Rehabilitation
of Buildings. Washington DC, 2000.

5) Federal Emergency Federal Agency,

FEMA-273. NEHRP Guidelines for the
Seismic Rehabilitation of Buildings,
Washington DC, 1997.
6) Kassimali, A. and Badiey, M. (1984)
Nonlinear behavior and stability of
latticed Domes under combined loading.
7) Nonlinear Structural Analysis for
Seismic Design, NEHRP Seismic
Design Technical Brief No. 4-2010
8) SAP 2000, Ver. 14.0.0, integrated finite
element analysis and design of
structures reference manual. Berkeley
(CA, USA): Computers and Structures