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Seismic Pounding between Reinforced Concrete Buildings: A Study using

two recently proposed Contact Element Models
Deepak Raj Pant & Anil C. Wijeyewickrema
Department of Civil Engineering, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan

Tastsuo Ohmachi
Department of Built Environment, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan

ABSTRACT:
In this paper, three-dimensional (3D) simulation of seismic pounding between reinforced concrete (RC)
moment-resisting frame buildings is presented considering material as well as geometric nonlinearities. The
building configuration considered consists of 8-story and 10-story buildings designed according to the 2006
International Building Code (IBC). Two recently proposed variations of the linear contact element model
namely, modified Kelvin-Voigt (MKV) model and modified Kelvin (MK) model are compared. The relative
performance of the adjacent buildings is evaluated based on maximum inter-story drift ratios for four
earthquakes and different gap sizes. It is concluded that the MKV model is more rational than the MK model
for seismic pounding simulation. In general the response of the 8-story building is amplified due to pounding.
The pounding response is found to be more dependent on earthquake characteristics than the gap between
buildings.
Keywords: contact elements; finite elements; nonlinear analysis; pounding; reinforced concrete buildings.

1. INTRODUCTION
Seismic pounding between reinforced concrete (RC) buildings has been reported as the cause of severe
damage in several past earthquakes. Therefore, the analysis of seismic pounding has gained much
attention in recent years (see for example Karayannis and Favvata 2005, Jankowski 2006, 2009, 2010
and Dimitrakopoulos et al. 2009).
Numerical simulation of seismic pounding between adjacent buildings involves many complexities
due to the inherent nature of nonlinearity of the problem, crushing at the contact surfaces and
vibrations induced in the structures. Hence, the previous efforts to simulate the pounding
phenomenon have included many assumptions. Previous studies show diversity in the methods of
modeling colliding buildings and simulating impact. While single-degree-of-freedom systems or
multi-degree-of-freedom lumped mass systems had been a choice for the modeling of structures in the
early days, the more recent research efforts include a more rigorous analysis based on finite element
method (FEM), see for example Mouzakis and Papadrakakis (2004), Karayannis and Favvata (2005),
Anagnostopoulos and Karamaneas (2008), Jankowski (2009) and Shakya and Wijeyewickrema (2009).
However, only limited research has been reported using three-dimensional (3D) models considering
material as well as geometric nonlinearities. On the other hand, for the simulation of impact, many
researches have used a contact element approach. The most widely used type of contact element
model is the Kelvin-Voigt model.
Pant et al. (2010) among others identified the drawbacks associated with the Kelvin-Voigt model and
proposed the modified Kelvin-Voigt (MKV) model for the simulation of seismic pounding.
Komodromos et al. (2007) had proposed a variation of Kelvin-Voigt model namely, modified linear
viscoelastic model, in which a permanent deformation is allowed at the contact surface. Pant et al.
(2010) compared MKV model with the modified linear viscoelastic model (Komodromos et al. 2007)

1. (2. The schematic representation of a contact element is shown in Fig. In the present study. The Modified Kelvin-Voigt (MKV) Model (Pant et al.1) where kl is stiffness of spring element.1 is expressed as. The MKV model of contact element is compared with the modified Kelvin (MK) model proposed by Kun et al. There have been two important modifications to the model as outlined below. 2. which can take into account the energy dissipated during impact is the Kelvin-Voigt model. The concept used to develop MK model had also been used by Kun et al. 2. Contact Element node i   node j Figure 2. (2. Schematic representation of contact element. c = ξδ . 2010) Here.1. (2009b) to propose a modification to nonlinear contact element model. The contact element approach is used to simulate the impact. Effect of earthquake characteristics and gap between the buildings on the relative performance of adjacent buildings is also investigated in the present study. δ$ = u$i − u$ j . respectively. ⎧kl δ + cδ$ δ > 0 and δ$ > 0 ⎪⎪ δ > 0 and δ$ ≤ 0 .and concluded that the MKV model is more rational and appropriate for the simulation of seismic pounding.1.2) where ui and u j are the displacements of nodes i and j. 2.1. F = ⎨ kl δ ⎪0 δ ≤0 ⎪⎩ (2. 2r 2δ$o where r is coefficient of restitution and δ$o is the relative velocity just before the impact. (2009a). The damping coefficient c in Eqn. the impact force F is expressed as.1. 2010). LINEAR CONTACT ELEMENT MODELS A linear contact element model is best suited for the simulation of seismic pounding between multi-story buildings (Pant et al. The most fundamental linear contact element model. (2. c is the damping coefficient and indentation at contact surface δ and relative velocity of impact δ$ are given as. 3D simulation of seismic pounding between RC buildings designed according to the 2006 International Building Code (ICC 2006) is presented.1.3) where damping ratio ξ is. δ = ui − u j − gap. respectively.1.4) . 2. ξ= 3kl (1 − r 2 ) . gap is at-rest separation between the nodes and u$i and u$ j are the velocities of nodes i and j.1.

ξ= 3kl (1 − r ) . in which damping ratio ξ is expressed as. The seismic force-resisting system was considered to be special moment-resisting frame. 2rδ$o (2. A value of kl = 93. Furthermore. Contact between the buildings is modeled using zero length elements as contact elements with uniaxial material properties based on MKV and MK models (Fig. (1988).2.3. F =⎨ l δ ≤0 ⎪⎩0 (2.1) where damping coefficient c is given by Eqn. The confining effect of stirrups is implicitly modeled by increasing the core concrete strength based on the model proposed by Mander et al.2. ⎧⎪k δ + cδ$ δ > 0 . respectively. The fundamental natural periods of the 8-story and 10-story buildings were found to be 1.63 sec. Material nonlinearity and geometric nonlinearity due to P-Delta effect are considered in the analysis.2) The main difference between MKV and MK models lies in the use of dashpot in parallel with the spring in the contact element. (2010). The Modified Kelvin (MK) Model (Kun et al.65 as used by other researchers for concrete-to-concrete impact (Jankowski 2005 and Anagnostopoulos and Karamaneas 2008). 2.2. 3.500 kN/m used by Jankowski (2005) for concrete-to-concrete impact is also used in this study. RC beams and columns are modeled as force-based finite elements with fiber-based section discretization. the impact force F is given as. both the models have been implemented in finite element program OpenSees (2009) in the form of uniaxial material models and are used to simulate seismic pounding of two multi-story RC buildings in subsequent sections. Three-dimensional frame models of the buildings with an assumed rigid slab response are used in OpenSees (2009). The dashpot is only activated during the approach period in the MKV model while the dashpot is activated throughout the contact period in the MK model. BUILDING DESCRIPTION AND MODELING Two adjacent 8-story and 10-story RC office buildings designed according to 2006 IBC (ICC 2006) for seismic design category D are considered in this study. Design details of the buildings can be found in Pant et al.59 sec and 1. Figure 3.1. . 2009a) Here.2.1).1 Three-dimensional model of buildings with contact elements. 3. The coefficient of restitution is taken to be 0.

It is recalled that this is one of the inherent disadvantages of the original Kelvin-Voigt model. b).42 33.25 Near-field Remarks Through numerical simulations using MK model. where it can be observed that the maximum difference in drift ratio is about 0.825g 160. . (d). maximum inter-story drift ratios for 8-story building in case of Hachinohe and Kobe earthquakes when the buildings are in contact at rest are shown in Fig. b). the buildings are assumed to be in contact at rest (i.1 b). by virtue of Eqn. 2. 75 mm.1. This marks the collapse of 8-story building under these two earthquakes. d).1.30 17. 4.92 46.go. PGA.10 Far-field 0.7% (Fig. the relative performance of adjacent buildings is evaluated in the following sections using only the MKV model. the Hachinohe and Northridge earthquakes produce very large inter-story drift ratios (in access of 10%). However.edu/nga/ PGA (g) Ds PGV (cm/sec) PGD (cm) (sec) 0.4 a.005 sec. Peak ground acceleration. For example. (d) and 4.221g 67. For example. Different gap sizes between the buildings are considered in the analysis.pari. It shall be noted that due to the absence of the dashpot in the restitution phase of impact.1 a. which never produces tensile force just before the separation is found to be more rational for the seismic pounding simulation. 4. The existence of tensile force is quite possible due to the activation of dashpot even in the restitution phase of contact. the MK model does not produce tensile forces at the fourth floor level (Fig.jp/kyosin/ b http://peer. For 8-story building. in the case of Hachinohe earthquake. such response is not observed for 10-story building. d). Input ground motion records. Maximum inter-story drift ratios of both the buildings for Hachinohe and Northridge earthquakes for different gap sizes are presented in Fig. the appearance of tensile force is evident when the gap between the buildings is 50 mm (Fig. it was found that the model does not always avoid the appearance of tensile force just before the separation.berkeley. Table 4.313g 29. the force just at the end of impact is always zero.1 a). 4.86 Far-field 0.4 (a). gaps of 50 mm.821g 81. Nonetheless.4.3 a. In subsequent cases. the maximum impact forces obtained using MK model are much lower (up to 20% less) than those obtained using MKV model (Fig.62 7. 4. when the buildings are in contact at rest.3 (a). when the pounding between the buildings is not allowed (Fig. the displacement response of structures was found to be nearly insensitive to different contact element models.25%.63 Near-field 0.69 13. ANALYSIS AND RESULTS Nonlinear dynamic analysis of buildings is carried out using two far-field (Hachinohe and El Centro) and two near-field (Kobe and Northridge) earthquake records. However. significant duration ( Ds ) and other details of the input ground motion records are given in Table 4. but not shown here.1 a. Earthquake Station Hachinohe Hachinohe Citya (1968) El Centro USGS 117 El Centro Array (1940) #9b Kobe KJMAb (1995) Northridge DWP 77 Rinaldib (1994) a http://www.e.2 (a) and (b). The analyses for all the cases are carried out up to 40 sec. 4.1 that both the models are consistent in terms of time and instances of impact. the MKV model never produces tensile force just before the separation (Fig.1. 100 mm and 125 mm are considered. Although the difference in the displacement response using both the models is not significant. the analysis of buildings is also performed by providing a significantly large gap to avoid pounding. 4. It can be observed from Fig 4. Hence. Similar response was also found for other earthquakes and gap cases.12 29. 4. velocity and displacement (i.69 8. However. In the first case.3. In order to demonstrate the effect of pounding on structural response. In spite of having such a large difference in impact forces.e. MKV model.eq.03 24. where the inter-story drift ratio is limited to a maximum of nearly 3. PGV and PGD). with a time step of 0. respectively. gap = 0). 4.

the response of buildings is amplified due to pounding. pounding can sometimes reduce the excessively large inter-story drifts that occur in the absence of pounding. d).5 2 2. 4. The drift response for 8-story building due to pounding is found to be more than that for 10-story building. Therefore. 8 8 MKV MK 6 Floor level Floor level 6 4 2 2 0 0 (a) 4 0. Impact force time histories at fourth floor level for Hachinohe earthquake: (a) In contact. Maximum inter-story drift ratios for Kobe earthquake are shown in Fig. the occurrence of pounding avoids the generation of excessively large inter-story drift ratios at the critical floor levels of 8-story building.2.3 (c) and 4. (b) Kobe.3 (b) and 4.4 (b) show the maximum inter-story drift ratios for El Centro earthquake. It can be observed from Fig.4 that there is no clear trend in the drift response with respect to the gap between the buildings.4 (c).1. the response due to pounding is found to have increased at some levels and decreased at others. where the drift ratio gets limited to a maximum of about 5% (Fig. Fig.5 Inter-story drift ratio (%) 3 Figure 4. Except a few cases. which is consistent with the results obtained in previous studies. It is clear from the figures that the response of 8-story building is increased due to pounding. Earthquake characteristics were found to be governing factors in the seismic pounding response.5 1 1. 4.5 1 1.5 2 2. Maximum inter-story drift ratios for 8-story building when buildings are in contact at rest: (a) Hachinohe. Furthermore. (b) 50 mm gap. Unlike the case of El Centro earthquake.250 MKV MK 200 Impact force (kN) Impact force (kN) 250 150 100 50 0 -50 MKV MK 200 150 100 50 0 -50 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 Time (sec) 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 Time (sec) (a) (b) Figure 4.3 a. . 4. however that of 10-story building is decreased.5 Inter-story drift ratio (%) (b) 3 MKV MK 0 0 0.3 and 4. 4. It was found that for the case of El Centro earthquake pounding only occurs when the buildings are in contact at rest.

5 2 2.5 4 Inter-story drift ratio (%) (b) 8 8 Kobe 6 4 Floor level 10 Floor level 10 In contact 50 mm gap 75 mm gap 100 mm gap 125 mm gap No pounding 6 4 2 2 0 0 0 0.5 1 1. (d) Northridge.5 2 2.5 4 Inter-story drift ratio (%) 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 Inter-story drift ratio (%) (a) (b) 8 8 6 6 4 Kobe 2 Floor level Floor level Northridge In contact 50 mm gap 75 mm gap 100 mm gap 125 mm gap No pounding 4 2 0 0 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 Inter-story drift ratio (%) 0 0.5 3 3. (c) Kobe. (b) El Centro.5 1 1.5 3 3.5 3 3.5 4 Inter-story drift ratio (%) (a) El Centro 0 0.5 4 Inter-story drift ratio (%) 0 0.5 3 3.5 4 Inter-story drift ratio (%) (c) Northridge (d) Figure 4. (c) Kobe.5 1 1.4. Maximum inter-story drift ratios for 10-story building using MKV model: (a) Hachinohe. (d) Northridge.5 2 2.5 2 2.5 1 1. (b) El Centro.5 1 1. .5 4 Inter-story drift ratio (%) (c) (d) Figure 4. 10 10 Hachinohe 8 Floor level Floor level 8 6 4 In contact 50 mm gap 75 mm gap 100 mm gap 125 mm gap No pounding 6 4 2 2 0 0 0 0.5 2 2.5 1 1. Maximum inter-story drift ratios for 8-story building using MKV model: (a) Hachinohe.8 8 Hachinohe 4 El Centro 6 Floor level Floor level 6 In contact 50 mm gap 75 mm gap 100 mm gap 125 mm gap No pounding 4 2 2 0 0 0 0.5 3 3.5 3 3.3.5 2 2.

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