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Engineering Structures 34 (2012) 455465

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Engineering Structures
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/engstruct

A model for the practical nonlinear analysis of reinforced-concrete frames


including joint exibility
Anna C. Birely , Laura N. Lowes, Dawn E. Lehman
Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, United States

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:
Received 5 January 2011
Revised 1 September 2011
Accepted 1 September 2011
Available online 11 November 2011
Keywords:
Beamcolumn joints
Analytical models
Rotational springs
Ductility

a b s t r a c t
A model is developed to simulate the nonlinear response of planar reinforced-concrete frames including
all sources of exibility. Conventional modeling approaches consider only beam and column exibility
using concentrated plasticity or springs to model this response. Although the joint may contribute the
majority of the deformation, its deformability is typically not included in practice. In part, this is because
few reliable, practical approaches for modeling all sources of frame nonlinearity are available. The
research presented herein was undertaken to develop a practical, accurate nonlinear model for reinforced
concrete frames. The model is appropriate for predicting the earthquake response of planar frames for
which the nonlinearity is controlled by yielding of beams and/or non-ductile response of joints and is
compatible with the ASCE/SEI Standard 41-06 nonlinear static procedure. The model was developed to
facilitate implementation in commercial software packages commonly used for this type of nonlinear
analysis. The nonlinearity is simulated by introducing a dual-hinge lumped-plasticity beam element to
model the beams framing into the joint. The dual-hinge comprises two rotational springs in series;
one spring simulates beam exural response and one spring simulates joint response. Hinge parameters
were determined using data from 45 planar frame sub-assemblage tests. Application of the model to simulate the response of these sub-assemblages shows that the model provides accurate simulation of stiffness, strength, drift capacity and response mechanism for frames with a wide range of design parameters.
2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction
Under seismic loading, the beams and columns in a concrete
moment frame typically experience moment reversals at the
beamcolumn joint. To ensure that strength is maintained under
multiple large drift cycles, design guidelines for frames in regions
of high seismicity are intended to result in exural yielding in
the beams at the face of the joint and essentially elastic response
in the columns above the base (e.g., ACI 318-08 [1]). This can result
in high joint shear demand and high bond stress demand for beam
longitudinal reinforcement anchored in the joint; design guidelines
seek to limit both to ensure that joint damage does not reduce
frame toughness. The results of experimental tests on frame
subassmblages [213] show that joint damage can reduce frame
strength and stiffness and, in some cases, result in premature loss
of load-carrying capacity.
Prediction of frame response, as part of a performance-based
seismic design of a new structure or evaluation of an existing
structure, requires modeling of all sources of exibility in the

Corresponding author.
E-mail address: birely@uw.edu (A.C. Birely).
0141-0296/$ - see front matter 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.engstruct.2011.09.003

frame as well as stiffness and strength loss under earthquake loading. Thus, to conduct a nonlinear analysis of a reinforced concrete
moment-resisting frame, engineers require not only accurate models for beams and columns but also models that simulate joint response. For these models to be practical for use in the design ofce,
they must (1) be compatible with commonly employed commercial software packages, (2) support rapid model building, (3) be
computationally efcient and robust, and (4) provide acceptable
accuracy over a range of design congurations. Several practical
nonlinear modeling approaches are available for beams and columns (e.g., [14,15]). These models, which have been validated by
others, are incorporated into the fame model proposed herein.
However, these models do not simulate the response of the
beamcolumn joint. Here, the focus is on developing an appropriate approach for simulating joint exibility and degradation in
frame strength due to joint response mechanisms. Although nonlinear joint models are found in the literature, few of these models
meet the requirements for widespread use by practicing structural
engineers. A model is proposed which uses conventional nonlinear
frame elements and is easily implemented in commercial structural analysis software. The model is developed and validated
using experimental data to simulate the full frame response,
including the joint.

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A.C. Birely et al. / Engineering Structures 34 (2012) 455465

1.1. Previously proposed beamcolumn joint models


The simplest approach for modeling joint response within the
context of a nonlinear frame analysis is to introduce a spring at
the intersection of the beam and column line elements. Often rigid
offsets are included in the beam and column elements to dene the
physical size of the joint and ensure that the joint spring is the sole
source of simulated deformation in the joint region. The loaddeformation response of the joint spring is typically dened on
the basis of the expected shear stressstrain response of the joint
volume and/or the bond slip of longitudinal reinforcement within
the joint. Models of this type were developed by El-Metwally and
Chen [16], Kunnath [17], Ghobarah and Biddah [18], and Anderson
et al. [19]. The advantage of this type of model is its overall simplicity. One disadvantage of the model is the need to dene duplicate nodes at the center of the joint, a process that is typically not
well supported in commercial software and can hinder the modelbuilding process. The primary disadvantage of this type of model,
however, is the challenging and time-consuming process of calibrating the model to provide an accurate simulation of joint response. Often, model calibration is accomplished by simplifying
the assumed primary response of the joint. Specically, the model
parameters are specic to a limited set of design parameters, a limited set of data, or both. Typically the modeling assumptions depend on the design parameters, and applying these assumptions
to generate the model response history typically requires signicant computation by the engineer. In some cases, models are calibrated directly from experimental data characterizing the response
of joints in frames with design parameters and details that are similar to those in the structure of interest; in this case, the accuracy of
the simulations depends entirely on the similarity of the two
frames.
Macro-element joint models are a second approach for modeling
joint behavior. Altoontash and Deierlein [20], Lowes and Altoontash
[21], and Mitra and Lowes [22] have proposed models that connect
beam and column centerline elements to nite-volume joint macroelements. These models comprise a shear-panel component and
rotational springs or zero-length springs to represent bar slip and
interface shear. Other macro-models have been developed by
Youssef and Ghobarah [23], Elmorsi et al. [24], Shin and LaFave
[25], Uma and Prasad [26], and Tajiri et al. [27]. Relative to a single
concentrated spring, a macro-element model typically allows for a
simpler, more objective calibration and enables simulation of joints
with a wide range of design parameters. A primary drawback of this
modeling approach, however, is that macro-element models are not
easily implemented in commercial software.
Given the complexity of beamcolumn joint response, continuum modeling offers the greatest potential for accurately simulating the nonlinear response of joints with a range of design
parameters. Continuum modeling has been the focus of a number
of research studies [2830]. However, it has not been validated
using large data sets, is computationally demanding, requires signicant model-building effort on the part of the engineer, and cannot be accomplished using the analysis software employed
typically by practicing structural engineers.
1.2. Proposed model
The objective of this study was to develop a model to accurately
simulate the nonlinear response (including initial stiffness,
strength, and deformation capacity) of a reinforced concrete frame.
This requires simulation of all important sources of deformation
including the beam, column, and joint response mechanisms. Previously proposed joint models do provide accurate representation
of joint behavior, and some have been calibrated to explicitly account for specic response modes, such as bond slip and shear

deformation. However, these models require the addition of a separate element, typically concentrated springs or macro-elements,
for every joint, making their use in commercial nonlinear structural analysis software packages time consuming and cumbersome. However, modeling a frame using only standard nonlinear
beamcolumn elements neglects simulation of joint response and
typically produces inaccurate results. The proposed model seeks
to provide an intermediate modeling alternative between the simple use of frame elements without joint representation and the
more time consuming use of detailed joint elements.
One of the most common approaches to modeling nonlinear response of reinforced concrete frames is to use lumped-plasticity
elements for the beams and columns. This approach is used here,
with the moment-rotation history of the beam plastic hinges (for
the system considered in this study, columns do not exhibit significant nonlinearity) modied to include simulation of not only the
beam response, but also the joint response. In the modied element, the conventional single-hinge representation is replaced by
a dual-hinge, which comprises two rotational springs in series.
One of the springs simulates the nonlinear exural response of
the beam and is referred to as the beam spring. The second spring
simulates the response of the joint, and is referred to as the joint
spring. Rotation limits are provided for each spring to simulate
the onset of loss of load carrying capacity. Rigid offsets are included in the beams and columns that frame into the joint to ensure that joint exibility is dened entirely by the joint spring in
the dual hinge.
The model was developed with the objective of satisfying practical nonlinear modeling needs. The proposed model can be used in
existing commercial software with an effort that is equivalent to
using a conventional nonlinear beamcolumn element. By modifying a traditional method for modeling frames, the intent of the
model is to provide increased accuracy over models commonly
used in practice. Consequently, the model should not be used to
extract local response of a joint. If such information is needed,
other models, such as those identied above, are more appropriate.
2. Experimental data set
The proposed joint model was developed using data from 45 planar frame sub-assemblages, tested by 11 research groups [213], as
listed in Table 1. The data set used in this study is a subset of that
assembled by Mitra and Lowes [22], where a detailed description
of the individual specimens can be found. Specimens are bare-frame
sub-assemblages without slabs. The data set does not include specimens constructed of light-weight concrete, very high-strength concrete (over 16 ksi, or 110 MPa), or plain reinforcing bars. For the
specimens included in the data set, the lateral capacity was limited
by exural yielding of beams and/or damage in the joint. The proposed model is appropriate for use in simulating the response of
frames with these characteristics and failure modes.
The data set spans a wide range of design parameters and includes specimens that are representative of new construction in regions of high seismic hazard as well as construction that pre-date
modern seismic detailing requirements. Fig. 1 shows histograms
for select design parameters, including concrete compressive
strength (fc0 ), beam steel yield strength (fy), ratio of the sum of column exural strengths to the sum of the beam exural strengths
(RMnc/RMnb), as well as bond demand (l) computed

la

fy db
p
fc0

2hc

where db is the maximum diameter of the beam longitudinal reinforcement and all other variables are previously dened, joint reinforcement ratios (qj) computed

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A.C. Birely et al. / Engineering Structures 34 (2012) 455465


Table 1
Ductility classication data.
Test program

Test specimen

sdesign

p0
fc

(MPa/ MPa)

a
b

model
sp
max

lD

p
(MPa/ MPa)a

p
(MPa/ MPa)a

meas
sp
max

fc0

fc0

Ductility

Test

Model

Durrani and Wight [7]

DWX1
DWX2
DWX3

11.10
1.12
0.87

1.27
1.35
1.12

1.06
1.07
0.85

4.7
5.5
6.4

D
D
D

D
D
D

Otani et al. [3]

OKAJ1
OKAJ2
OKAJ3
OKAJ4
OKAJ5

1.22
1.26
1.26
1.22
1.15

0.97
1.03
1.15
0.95
0.90

1.01
1.04
1.04
1.01
0.96

5.3
5.6
6.7
5.1
4.4

D
D
D
D
D

D
D
D
D
D

Meinheit and Jirsa [10]

MJ1
MJ2
MJ3
MJ5
MJ6
MJ12
MJ13

2.24
1.78
2.23
1.92
1.89
1.93
1.79

1.32
1.52
1.47
1.57
1.69
2.04
1.49

1.70
1.57
1.70
1.60
1.59
1.62
1.57

3.5

B
B
B
B
B
LD
B

B
B
B
B
B
B
B

Alire [5] and Walker [6]

PEER14
PEER22
PEER0850
PEER0995
PEER4150

0.87
1.55
0.61
0.93
3.40

0.94
1.17
0.70
1.04
1.90

0.89
1.49
0.64
0.95
1.97

3.6

4.3 (E)
5.3

LD
B
D
D
B

D
B
D
D
B

Park and Ruitong [12]

PR1
PR2
PR3
PR4

0.46
0.72
0.51
0.69

0.51
0.81
0.53
0.73

0.47
0.72
0.52
0.69

29.5 (E)
6.8
13.2 (E)
7.1

D
D
D
D

D
D
D
D

Noguchi and Kashawazaki [11]

NKOKJ1
NKOKJ3
NKOKJ4
NKOKJ5
NKOKJ6

1.88
1.90
1.88
2.37
2.02

1.52
1.54
1.60
1.59
1.61

1.67
1.63
1.67
1.88
1.75

B
B
B
B
B

B
B
B
B
B

Oka and Shiohara [13]

OSJ1
OSJ2
OSJ4
OSJ5
OSJ6
OSJ7
OSJ8
OSJ10
OSJ11

1.45
3.60
1.55
2.05
1.57
1.16
1.95
2.35
2.83

1.44
1.55
1.55
1.75
1.55
1.24
1.76
1.60
1.84

1.34
1.84
1.39
1.72
1.41
1.17
1.59
1.80
1.87

3.0

3.8

3.0
5.0 (E)
2.9

LD
B
LD
B
LD
D
LD
B
B

B
B
B
B
B
D
B
B
B

Kitayama et al. [9]

KOAC1
KOAC3

0.91
0.91

1.01
0.97

0.87
0.87

116 (E)
42.3 (E)

D
D

D
D

Park and Milburn [4]

PM1

1.25

1.15

1.22

3.1 (E)

LD

Endoh et al. [8]

HC
A1

1.02
2.24

1.10
1.45

0.96
1.64

8.2 (E)

D
B

D
B

Beckingsale [2]

B11
B12

0.76
0.76

0.83
0.86

0.78
0.79

No Loss
No Loss

D
D

D
D

p
p
Conversion factor: 1 MPa = 145 psi; 1 MPa/ MPa = 12.04 psi/ psi.
(E): Displacement ductility at 10% strength loss extrapolated; (): brittle joint, no displacement ductility.

qj

At
st b j

where At is the area of one layer of joint transverse reinforcement


passing through a plane normal to the axis of the beams, st is the
vertical spacing of hoops in the joint region, and bj is the out-ofplane dimension of the joint, and axial load ratio (p) computed

P
Ag fc0

where P is the applied column axial load, Ag is the gross area of the
column, and fc0 is the measured concrete compressive strength.
Additionally, Table 1 lists for each specimen, the following shear
stress values used in the current study:
 Design shear stress demand, sdesign, computed using an approach
that is consistent with ACI Com 352 [31] recommendations:

sdesign

1
bottom
afy Atop
 V n
s As
hc bj

where hc is the height of the column and bj is the out-of-plane


dimension of the joint. The column shear, Vn, corresponds to
the average nominal moment strength of the beam. The variables Atop
and Atop
are the areas of steel in the top and bottom
s
s
of the beam, respectively, and fy is the measured strength of
the reinforcement. To account for hardening of the steel under
earthquake loading and over-strength in the nominal value, fy
is typically multiplied by a factor of 1.25 [1]. However, as the actual strength of the steel was available for all specimens in the
data set, the 1.25 factor was reduced by 1.1 as recommended
by ACI Com. 352 [31]. Thus, a = 1.25/1.1 was used in Eq. (4).
 Maximum measured
shear stress
demand, smax



smax

1 ML MR
 V max
hc b j
jd

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A.C. Birely et al. / Engineering Structures 34 (2012) 455465

20
10
0
20

40

10

15
# Specimen

# Specimen

20

0
250 500 750 1000 1250 1500
(b) fy (MPa)

60 80 100 120
(a) f c (MPa)

20
15
10
5
0
0.5 0.75 1 1.25 1.5 1.75 2 2.25
(c) Mnc/ Mnb

10
5
0
10

20

0.1

30 40
(d)

50

60

0.2 0.3 0.4


(f) P/(Agf c)

0.5

20
# Specimen

15
# Specimen

2.1. Forcedisplacement data

30
# Specimen

# Specimen

30

10
5
0

15
10
5
0

0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5 4


(e) j (%)

Fig. 1. Histogram of basic beamcolumn joint sub-assemblage properties.

where Vmax is the maximum experimental column shear, ML and


MR are the corresponding moments in the left and right beam at
the joint face, respectively. The term jd is the moment lever arm
for the beam, where d is the depth from the extreme compression ber to the tension reinforcement in the beam, assumed
to be 0.9hb if unknown, and j is an empirically derived parameter
typically taken equal to 0.85 [32].

2.2. Ductility classication


To support the model calibration effort, specimens were classied as brittle, ductile or limited-ductility. Brittle specimens exhibit
a maximum strength that was less than that required to yield all
beam longitudinal reinforcement in tension. Ductile specimens
reach the yield shear force and exhibit displacement ductility,
lD, greater than four. Limited-ductility specimens are specimens
not classied as brittle or ductile. Displacement ductility, lD, was
dened as

lD

D90%
Dy

450
Vmax

(V90%, 90%Vmax)

V80%
(Vfy, fy)

Column Shear, [kN]

Fig. 2 shows a typical test specimen and setup. Test specimens


represent a sub-assemblage from a two-dimensional building frame,
comprising a segment of a continuous beam extending from midspan of one frame bay to mid-span of the next, a segment of a continuous column extending from mid-height of one story to mid-height
of the next, and the beamcolumn joint at the intersection of these
two members. The mid-length points are assumed to approximate
points of inection in an actual frame and therefore are a suitable
location to apply the shear forces and sustain the reactions. Frame
sub-assemblages were subjected to reversed cyclic lateral loading
under displacement control in the laboratory, and load was applied
either as a shear load at the top of the column or as a pair of equaland-opposite shear loads at the beam ends. Some sub-assemblages
were also subjected to simulated gravity load applied as a constant
axial load to the top of the column.

The primary data used from the experimental tests were the
column shear versus lateral displacement envelope for each specimen. In some cases, data characterizing the response of the individual frame components (beams, columns and joints) were
available, in other cases they were not. Therefore individual component responses were not directly considered; instead, the overall
sub-assemblage response was used. This is consistent with previous research addressing performance-based seismic design of reinforced concrete frames that has shown frame drift to be the most
practical engineering demand parameter [33].
The response envelope for each specimen was determined from
the experimental cyclic loaddisplacement history. Points on the
envelope correspond to the following loaddisplacement pairs:
(i) theoretical initial exural yielding of beams, (Vy, Dy), (ii) maximum column shear, (Vmax, DVmax), (iii) 20% loss of strength following maximum load, (V80%, D80%V), and (iv) any additional points
required to accurately represent the shape of the loaddisplacement envelope. The theoretical yield load, Vy, was computed using
a momentcurvature analysis of a ber cross-section of the beams
with exural yield strength of the beams dened by initial tensile
yielding of the beam longitudinal reinforcement. Fig. 3 shows an
example of the cyclic response and the response envelope for Specimen PEER0995 [56].

300
VY

150

Experimental
Envelope
Second Beam Yield
90% Maximum Shear
0
0

40

Vmax 80 80%Vmax

120

Displacement, [mm]
Fig. 2. Experimental set-up for Park and Milburn [4] and Alire [5] sub-assemblages
(equal and opposite forces applied to beams).

Fig. 3. Positive forcedisplacement history for specimen PEER 0995 with envelope.

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where D90% is the displacement at which 10% strength loss


occurred, as determined from the column lateral loaddisplacement
envelope, and Dy is as dened previously. A solid circle in Fig. 3
shows D90% and the corresponding column shear force for Specimen
PEER0995. The ductility classication of each specimen is provided
in Table 1. For the complete data set, 18 specimens were classied
as brittle, 20 as ductile, and 7 as limited-ductility.

M hinge

pos
yield

fail
beam

beam
fail
beam

3. Model denition
The proposed dual-hinge model is incorporated in a lumpedplasticity beamcolumn element, where two rotational springs
are combined in series to form the dual-hinge that represents the
inelastic deformations of the beam and the joint. One of the rotational springs simulates the beam response. The second spring
simulates the joint response, including that caused by joint shear
deformation and bond slip.
Fig. 4 shows a model of a typical frame sub-assemblage in
which the proposed dual-hinge beamcolumn element is used to
model the beams. Beams are modeled as elastic outside the hinge
region. Columns are modeled using elastic beamcolumn elements; elastic elements were considered adequate because, for
the sub-assemblages in the data set, columns did not yield. The
effective elastic stiffness values recommended in ASCE/SEI Standard 41-06 [34] were used for beams and columns. Rigid offsets
equal to the joint dimensions were included at the ends of the
beam and column elements to dene the joint volume and ensure
that the joint spring was the only source of joint deformation.
Fig. 5 shows the momentcurvature response of the two components of the dual-hinge. The beam response is similar to a traditional nonlinear beamcolumn hinge, but has a rotation limit,
hfail
beam , beyond which a loss of strength occurs. The joint spring
has a bilinear response, with stiffness K1, to the yield moment of
the beam, and K2 beyond yield. For the joint spring, strength loss
initiates at a rotation demand of hfail
joint . The following sections discuss the calibration of these values.
3.1. Rotational spring simulating nonlinear beam exural response
Typically, the moment-rotation response for a lumped-plasticity
beam or column element is determined from the moment
curvature response of the member cross section and a plastichinge length. As described previously, the proposed dual-hinge
model uses two springs in series. The rotational spring representing the nonlinear exural response of the beam was calibrated to

Lb
hc
Lc
Rigid Offsets

Lumped-plasticity
beam element

hb

Beam Spring
Joint Spring

Dual-hinge
Fig. 4. Proposed model of sub-assemblage using rigid offsets and dual-hinge at
beam-joint interface.

neg
yield

(a)
M hinge
min
M yield

K2

K1
fail
joint

joint
fail
joint
K1

K2

M min
yield

(b)
Fig. 5. Dual-hinge components: (a) beam spring and (b) joint spring.

simulate the nonlinear response of the beam plastic-end zone


including a rotation limit dened to simulate the onset of exural
strength degradation. The beam exural moment-rotation
response prior to strength loss was determined by performing a
momentcurvature analysis (for both positive and negative
bending) using a ber-type model of the beam section. The beam
depth was discretized into 32 concrete bers; ber thickness was
approximately one-half inch (13 mm). Concrete was assumed to
have no tensile strength. A parabolic compressive stressstrain
response was assumed for unconned concrete, with maximum
strength corresponded to a strain of 0.002 mm/mm. The modied
KentPark model [35] was used to dene the compressive
response of conned concrete. A bilinear stressstrain response
was assumed for reinforcing steel in tension and compression;
the hardening stiffness was dened to be 0.01% of the initial
stiffness, essentially creating an elasticplastic model.
The resulting momentcurvature response was transformed to
a moment-rotation response by multiplying curvatures by a plastic
hinge length equal to one-half the beam depth. This hinge-length
model was proposed by Corley [36] and has been found by several
research groups [1619] to provide good estimates of member displacement. Fig. 5a shows the moment-rotation relation for the
beam spring, including the proposed rotation limit. Calibration of
the rotation limit is discussed in Section 3.3.
3.2. Rotational spring simulating nonlinear joint response
In the proposed model, joint nonlinearity was explicitly modeled using a second rotational spring in series with the beam spring
discussed in Section 3.1. The properties of the joint spring were

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A.C. Birely et al. / Engineering Structures 34 (2012) 455465

determined assuming that joint response may be dened by a joint


shear stress versus shear strain model and related to a momentrotation response using frame geometry. This approach to model
calibration is similar to that used in previous studies [1619]
employing a single joint hinge. The joint spring in the dual-hinge
includes a rotation limit beyond which the strength drops signicantly. Discussion of the spring follows, with calibrated values
listed in Table 2. Calibration of the rotation limit is discussed in
Section 3.3.
To calibrate the spring stiffness, equations were derived relating
joint shear strain to rotation at the beam-joint interface and joint
shear stress to the moment at the beam-joint interface for a frame
sub-assemblage. Detailed derivations are provided in Appendix A.
To determine the relationship between joint shear strain and hinge
rotation, the story drift resulting from a joint shear strain of cj, was
constrained to be equal to that resulting from equal but opposite
rotations, hjs, in the hinges at the beam-joint interface. Imposing
this constraint results in

hjs vc cj

where G is the shear modulus of the concrete. Using Eqs. (7)(11)


the stiffness of the joint rotational spring, K, can be written:

Mhinge
v
jG s
hjs
vc

A bilinear shear stressshear strain response, with a change in stiffness occurring at initial beam yielding, was used. Prior research
shows that this is an approximate yet accurate model of the nonlinear response of the joint [5]. The initial joint spring stiffness, K1, was
established using the relationship (Eq. (13)) to j1, the effective
shear stressstrain stiffness parameter.

v
K 1 j1 s G

vc 1  

Lc 1  hL c

13

vc

The parameter j1, was computed as that which minimized the


cumulative error in the predicted initial yield displacement for
the data set. The Matlab (www.mathworks.com) fminbnd function
was used for the optimization, and the cumulative error was
dened

where

hb

12

eyield

N
X
Dy  Danalytical
y
Dy
i1

!2
14
i

Lc and Lb are the lengths of the column and beam (Fig. 4), respectively, and hc and hb are the depth of the column and beam, respectively. Similarly, a relationship between joint shear stress, sj, and
moment in the hinge, Mhinge, was determined by relating the beam
moment at the joint face for a particular column shear to the joint
shear stress for the same column shear. For a particular column
shear load, the moment at the beam-joint interface is assumed to
transfer into the joint as a tensioncompression couple, with tension and compression forces determined assuming a moment arm
of jd, where d is the depth in the beam cross-section from the extreme compression ber to the tension reinforcement (assumed
to be 0.9hb if unknown) and j is an empirically derived parameter
taken equal to 0.85 [32]. The joint shear, Vj, is dened equal to
the sum of the couple forces (one tension and one compression) less
the column shear acting on the top half of the joint. The joint shear
stress is the joint shear force divided by the cross-sectional area of
the joint, Aj. The resulting relationship between joint moment and
shear stress is

M hinge vs sj

where



Aj 1  hL c jd
vs  jd b 
2 1  Lc  hL c

10

and all parameters in Eq. (10) are as previously dened.


The joint shear stress is related to the shear strain by an effective shear modulus, jG:

jG

s
c

11

Table 2
Summary of model parameters.
Parameter

Calibrated value

j1
j2
cfail
joint

0.14
0.038
0.0069

/fail
beam

0.0056

where Danalytical
is the simulated initial yield displacement correy
sponding to the initial yield load, Vy, Dy is the measured yield displacement, and only specimens that reached the yield load, Vy,
were included in the summation. The optimum effective shear stiffness factor, j1, is listed in Table 2.
The post-yield tangent stiffness of the joint spring was dened
as:

v
K 2 j2 s G
vc

15

The parameter j2 was determined using the simulated, Danalytical


,
fy
and measured, Dfy, displacements at the column shear corresponding to full yield, Vfy. Full yield was dened as the point at which both
beams had yielded, with yielding for a beam dened by initial yielding of longitudinal reinforcement as determined from the moment
curvature analysis of the beam section. The experimental displacement at full yield, Dfy, was taken from the sub-assemblage response
envelope. For most sub-assemblages, the full yield force is larger
than the initial yield force due to differences in conguration and
strength of the reinforcement in the top and bottom of the beams.
The full yield point, rather than the point of maximum load, was
used to determine j2 because the full yield point was found to provide a good representation of the post-yield stiffness while the low
tangent stiffness of sub-assemblages in the vicinity of maximum
load was found to result in a high level of variation and poor representation of the post-yield stiffness. Only tests in which the Vfy
shear force level was achieved or exceeded were used to calibrate
the post-yield stiffness ratio. Fig. 3 shows the full yield point for
specimen PEER0995.
Initially, post-yield stiffness parameter j2 was calibrated using
the same error-minimization approach that was used to calibrate
j1; however, this resulted in an unreasonable value for j2. The failure of this approach was attributed to two factors. First, the postyield response of the dual-hinge was dominated by the response of
the beam spring and, as a result, the simulated response was fairly
insensitive to changes in the post-yield stiffness of the joint hinge.
Second, because the calibrated initial stiffness of the joint spring
underestimated the stiffness of some of the specimens, application
of the model resulted in under-prediction of stiffness and overprediction of displacement at full yield of the beams for these
specimens.

461

A.C. Birely et al. / Engineering Structures 34 (2012) 455465

eipost-yield

Dify  Dify

!
analytical

Dify

16

where Dify and Difyanalytical are as dened previously. The optimal value
for j2 is listed in Table 2.

0.015
Brittle
Ductile
Limited Ductility
0.01
pos
joint

Ultimately, j2 was determined by averaging the ji2 values computed for each sub-assemblage, i, with an imposed upper-bound
limit on ji2 equal to the initial stiffness coefcient j1. The following
error function was minimized for each specimen to nd the ji2
values

0.005

3.3. Spring rotation limits to determine onset of strength degradation

0
0

fail
hfail
beam /beam lp

17

hfail
joint

18

fail
joint

vc

20
30
Joint Number

40

50

40

50

(a)
0.015

0.01
pos
beam

To simulate strength loss, rotation limits were included in both


components of the dual-hinge; beyond the rotation limit, the
strength of the springs was reduced. The characteristics of strength
loss and simulation of post-peak response were not considered,
and post-peak response is shown in Fig. 5 as a dashed line. ASCE/
SEI Standard 41-06 [34] provides recommendations for simulation
of strength degradation. To determine appropriate rotation limits
for use in the model, a pushover analysis was performed for each
specimen using the dual-hinge model (without rotation limits).
The beam and joint spring rotations corresponding to the drift at
onset of degradation in lateral load-carrying capacity were recorded. Ductile and limited-ductility specimens were considered
to reach this limit state when 10% of the specimens peak strength
was lost, D90%; brittle specimens were considered to reach this limit state at maximum strength, DVmax. Joint spring rotations were
converted to equivalent shear strains using the relationship provided by Eq. (7). Beam spring rotations were converted to equivalent curvatures using an assumed hinge length (lp) equal to
one-half the beam depth.
To determine an appropriate approach for dening rotation limits for response prediction, the relationships between specimen design parameters and spring rotation limits were explored.
However, no signicant correlation was found. Comparing the
equivalent strains and curvatures at the onset of strength loss for
brittle, ductile and limited-ductility specimens did show correlation between these values and sub-assemblage ductility. Fig. 6
shows the equivalent shear strain and curvature values plotted
versus specimen number with different markers used to indicate
the ductility classication of each specimen. Fig. 6a shows that
the equivalent shear strains at strength loss were signicantly larger for brittle specimens than for ductile specimens; Fig. 6b shows
that the equivalent beam curvatures were signicantly larger for
ductile specimens than for brittle specimens. Thus, by dening
constant rotation limits for each spring in the dual-hinge model,
the onset of strength loss can be predicted without prior knowledge or prediction of the response mechanism. Strength degradation is triggered by the joint spring component of the dual-hinge
for a brittle specimen and by the beam spring for a ductile
specimen.
Beam and joint spring rotation limits were dened as the constant values that minimized the sum of the error squared in the
simulated drift at strength loss. Equivalent beam curvatures
fail
(/fail
beam ) and equivalent joint shear strains (cjoint ) at initiation of
strength loss were calibrated using data from ductile and brittle
specimens, respectively. These limits were incorporated into the
dual-hinge using the relationships dened by Eqs. (17) and (18).
A constant value for each parameter was found that minimized
the sum of the error squared in the simulated drift at strength loss.
The calibrated values are provided in Table 2.

10

0.005

0
0

10

20
30
Joint Number

(b)
Fig. 6. Engineering parameter values corresponding to strength drop for all data:
(a) joint spring shear strain limits and (b) beam spring curvature limits for all data.

4. Application of the model


The proposed model is intended for use with the commercial
structural analysis software used commonly in design ofces,
and can be implemented using the following procedure.
1. Determine the properties of the beam spring. Compute the
momentcurvature response for each beam cross section and
convert beam curvatures to rotations using a plastic hinge
length, lp, equal to one-half of the beam depth. Using the computed cross-sectional response, identify yield moments for use
in creating the joint spring moment-rotation history. Compute
the beam rotation limits (positive and negative bending) for
each section, using Eq. (17) with ufail
beam dened in Table 2.
2. Determine the joint spring response history. Determine the initial and post-yield stiffness values using Eqs. (13) and (15), with
j1 and j2 dened in Table 2. The joint shear stress at which
stiffness change occurs is the joint shear stress corresponding
to initial beam yielding. The strength of the joint spring
degrades at an absolute rotation demand given by Eq. (16), with
cfail
joint dened in Table 2.
3. Create a centerline model of the structure with elastic beam
column elements used for the columns, lumped-plasticity
beamcolumn elements used for the beams, rigid offsets in
the beam and column elements dening the physical volume
of the joint, and dual-hinges introduced in the lumped-plasticity
beam elements at the joint faces. The dual hinges consist of the
zero-length beam and joint springs placed in series.
4. Perform the desired analysis of the structure.

462

A.C. Birely et al. / Engineering Structures 34 (2012) 455465

5. Comparison of simulated and observed response


For each of the sub-assemblages in the data set, a nonlinear
model was created using the steps described above and a pushover analysis was performed.
Fig. 7 illustrates the impact the joint spring has on the simulated response by showing envelopes for (i) the experimental data,
(ii) an analytical model that includes a conventional beam hinge/
spring, and (iii) the proposed dual-hinge model, including termination when the rotation limits are reached. Envelopes are shown for
(a) PEER 0850, for which specimen drift is due primarily to beam
exure and (b) PEER 4150, for which specimen drift is due primarily to joint shear. The addition of the joint spring to the model has a
greater impact on the response of the sub-assemblage with greater
measured shear deformation (PEER 4150). The proposed rotation
limits for the beam and joint springs result in the model accurately
simulating (a) the drift capacity of the ductile PEER 0850 specimen
and (b) the peak strength of the brittle PEER 4150 specimen.
Table 1 presents the ductility classication for each specimen as
observed experimentally and as predicted using the model. Fig. 8
shows the best and worst simulated versus observed response histories for the ductile, limited-ductility and brittle specimens.
For the full data set, the model was evaluated rst by comparing
the simulated and experimentally determined ductility of each
specimen. Section 2.2 described classication of specimen ductility
using experimental data. The simulated response of the specimen
was considered ductile if beam rotation demand exceeded the
beam spring rotation limit but not the joint spring rotation limit
and brittle if joint rotation demand exceeded the joint spring

250

Column Shear [kN]

200
150
100
Experimental
Conventional Hinge
DualHinge
DualHinge Limit

50
0
0

3
% Drift

(a)
1000

Column Shear [kN]

800
600
400
Experimental
Conventional Hinge
DualHinge
DualHinge Limit

200
0
0

3
% Drift

(b)
Fig. 7. Comparison of experimental response to simulated response using a
conventional beam hinge and the proposed dual-hinge for specimens (a) PEER
0850 and (b) PEER 4150.

rotation limit but not the beam spring rotation limit. Brittle behavior was simulated for all 18 specimens experimentally classied as
brittle. Ductile behavior was simulated for all 20 specimens experimentally classied as ductile. Of the seven limited-ductility specimens, the simulated response of six was controlled by joint
failure; for these six specimens the rotation demand imposed on
the beam-exural spring was only 7% of the rotation limit. Of the
limited-ductility specimens, specimen PEER14 was the only specimen for which simulated strength loss was due to activation of the
beam spring rotation limit; this occurred at a joint spring rotation
demand equal to 45% of the rotation limit. Thus, the model was
considered to provide accurate simulation of specimen ductility.
To further quantify the accuracy and precision of the model, the
error in the simulated displacement/drift and load at critical points
of the response history was computed. The critical points considered were: initial yield of beam longitudinal steel (Dy, Vy), maximum strength (Dmax, Vmax), and 10% loss of lateral load carrying
capacity (D90%, V90%). For each specimen, the error in displacement/drift was computed

eD

Dmeasured  Dsimulated
Dmeasured

19

and the error in load was computed

eV

V measured  V simulated
V measured

20

Error data are reported in Table 3.


The data in Fig. 8 and Table 3 indicate the following capabilities
of the model to simulate the ductile and limited-ductility
specimens.
1. Initial stiffness is simulated accurately for both the ductile specimens (average displacement error of 8% at initial yield) and the
limited-ductility specimens (average error of 4%).
2. The standard deviation of the error for simulation of initial stiffness for ductile and limited-ductility specimens is approximately 25%. This is considered to be acceptable for nonlinear
analysis of concrete components and is consistent with other
recently developed models for performance-based seismic
design and evaluation (e.g., Berry et al. [37]).
3. The strength of ductile specimens is accurately and precisely
simulated with an average error of 8% and a standard deviation
of 7%. It should be noted that strength is determined by the
computed momentcurvature response history for the beam
section.
4. Displacements at maximum strength are not reported for the
non-ductile specimens. Specimens typically exhibit very low
stiffness once beam(s) reach full yield strength; thus, the displacement at which maximum strength is achieved is not
meaningful.
5. For ductile specimens, the displacement at strength loss is simulated with a high level of accuracy and moderate precision
(average error of 8%; standard deviation of 35%). For limitedductility specimens, the accuracy of the model for simulation
of strength loss is much worse (average displacement error at
strength loss of 36%). This inaccuracy could be expected given
that the model is intended to simulate the onset of strength loss
in ductile specimens and was calibrated using data for these
specimens.
For brittle specimens, the data in Fig. 8 and Table 3 support the
following conclusions.
1. Initial stiffness (same as stiffness at maximum load) for brittle
joints is, on average, fairly accurate (8% average error) but
lacks precision (55% standard deviation).

463

A.C. Birely et al. / Engineering Structures 34 (2012) 455465

100

50

Experimental
DualHinge
DualHinge Limit

300

60
40
Experimental
DualHinge
DualHinge Limit

20
0

(a)

Experimental
DualHinge
DualHinge Limit

0
6

(c)
400

100

50

Experimental
DualHinge
DualHinge Limit

0
4

4
% Drift

Column Shear [kN]

Column Shear [kN]

300

(b)

400

Experimental
DualHinge
DualHinge Limit
0

150

100

100

% Drift

500

200

200

0
0

% Drift

Column Shear [kN]

Column Shear [kN]

80
Column Shear [kN]

Column Shear [kN]

150

300
200
Experimental
DualHinge
DualHinge Limit

100
0

% Drift

4
% Drift

(d)

(e)

% Drift

(f)

Fig. 8. Experimental (open circles) and model (thick line) envelopes for best and worst predictions. Best (a) brittle, MJ3, (b) ductile, PR3, and (c) limited-ductility, OSJ. Worst
(d) brittle, PEER22, (e) ductile, HC, and (f) limited-ductility, OSJ8.

Table 3
Error in proposed model for evaluation of experimental frame sub-assemblages.

Data subsets

Normalized error

Initial yield

Max. load

Ductile

Average
Stand. dev.

Limited ductility
Brittle

10% loss

Stiffness

Disp.

Load

Disp.

Load

8%
25%

8%
7%

8%
35%

2%
9%

Average
Stand. dev.

4%
24%

11%
9%

36%
41%

5%
11%

Average1
Stand. dev.1

8%
55%

8%
55%

5%
9%

For brittle joints, the stiffness at yield is the same as that at maximum load

2. The model provides an accurate and precise simulation of maximum strength (average error of 5%, standard deviation of 9%)
as well as accurate simulation of displacement at maximum
strength (average error of 8%).
3. The simulated displacement at maximum strength has a relatively high level of uncertainty, with a standard deviation of
53%; this was attributed to the simplicity of the model.
As previously discussed, the model provides accurate simulation of frame ductility and, thus, may be used in evaluation of
existing reinforced concrete frames to assess frame ductility under
seismic loading. To further explore the parameters that control
frame ductility, the computed joint shear stress demands for ductile and brittle joints were compared. The simulated maximum
joint shear stress, smodel
max , was computed as follows:

smodel
max

M max
M max
L
R
2vs

21

where Mmax
and M max
are the maximum moments developed in the
L
R
left and the right beams, respectively. Values are provided in Table 1. The simulated maximum shear stresses are similar to those
computed directly from experimental data using Eq. (5); the average difference between simulated and experimental stresses was
approximately 10%. Joint failure controlled the response of brittle

specimens; thus, for these specimens, the stress computed using


Eq. (21) is the joint shear strength (capacity). For brittle specimens,
simulated
joint shear
from
p
p stress demands at failure rangedp

17.9 fc0 psi to 23.7 fc0 psi, with an average value of 20.5 fc0 psi
and a coefcient of variation of 7%. For ductile specimens, specimen
response was controlled by beam yielding and the joint shear demand, computed using Eq. (21), is less than the joint shear strength.
p
0
For ductile
p specimens, shear stress demand
p ranged from 5.7 fc psi
to 14.1 fc0 psi with an average of 10.6 fc0 psi and coefcient of variation of 22%. Because there is no overlap in the ranges of simulated
shear stress for the ductile and brittle specimens, and given the relative low coefcient of variation on shear strength for brittle specimen, a strength-based limit model for the joint spring could be
expected to provide reasonably accurate prediction of strength.
However, the strain-based model simulates the range of strengths
observed in the lab, provides accurate (5% error) and precise (9%
standard deviation) prediction of strength and provides accurate
prediction of the drop at maximum strength (8% error).
6. Summary and conclusions
A dual-hinge lumped-plasticity beam element was developed to
provide a practical model capable of simulating the nonlinear response of planar concrete frames. The dual-hinge consists of two

464

A.C. Birely et al. / Engineering Structures 34 (2012) 455465

rotational springs in series to simulate the nonlinear exural response of the beam and the nonlinear response of the joint. The
beam spring response is determined from the momentcurvature
response of the beam cross section and an assumed plastic hinge
length. A rotation limit for the beam spring, which denes the onset of strength loss, was determined using laboratory data from
frame tests in which beams yielded in exure. The rotation limit
was represented as an equivalent curvature value. The joint spring
response is dened by a bilinear shear stressstrain relationship,
which is converted to a moment-rotation response using geometric transformations. Joint spring stiffnesses were determined using
laboratory data from frame sub-assemablage tests. Experimental
data from frame sub-assemblages exhibiting joint failure prior to
beam yielding were used to determine a joint spring rotation limit
at which strength loss initiates. This rotation limit was represented
as an equivalent shear strain value.
Frame models were constructed using standard beam column
elements and the dual-hinge spring model to simulate the response of 45 experimental sub-assemblages. The interaction of
the beam and joint springs and the introduction of rotation limits
in both springs resulted in a model that accurately simulated the
ductile (beam-controlled) or brittle (joint-controlled) response observed in the laboratory. Results show that the model provides
accurate simulation of initial stiffness, strength and displacement
at strength loss for ductile specimens as well as accurate simulation of stiffness and strength for brittle specimens.

Vc

Lc
M jf

Vb

Vb

1/2 (L b -h c )
Lb

Vc
Fig. A.1. Sub-assemblage forces and reactions.

Vc

T
M jf

Vj

jd
C

hb

M jf

hc

Acknowledgements
Support of this work was provided primarily by the Earthquake
Engineering Research Centers Program of the National Science
Foundation, under Award Number EEC-97015668 through the
Pacic Earthquake Engineering Research Center (PEER). Any
opinions, ndings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed
in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily
reect those of the National Science Foundation.

Fig. A.2. Forces acting on joint.

The moment at the joint face can then be expressed as a function of


the shear stress and joint geometry:

Appendix A

Mjf vs s
0

A.1. Derivation of shear force transformation coefcient

vs

C
Aj B
1
C
B
2 @jd1   1 A
Lc

Fig. A.1 shows the reaction forces of a frame sub-assemblage


subject to a column shear Vc. The forces acting on the joint are
shown in Fig. A.2. For a moment Mjf at the face of the joint, the column shear Vc is:

2Mjf

Vc 
Lc 1  hL c

A:1

A:5
A:6

1hL c
b

The transformation coefcient vs can be simplied to:



Aj jd 1  hL c
vs  jd b 
2 1  Lc  hL c

A:7

A.2. Derivation of shear strain transformation coefcient

and the moment produces the tension/compression couples:

TC

M jf
jd

A:2

where jd is the beam moment arm with d equal to the distance from
the extreme compression ber to the extreme tension ber and j is
taken as 0.85. From the column shear and tension/compression couples, the joint shear force can be calculated as:

Vj C T  Vc

A:3

Because the joint shear force Vj is equal to the shear stress times the
area of the joint, the shear stress can be written as a function of the
moment Mjf:

V j 2Mjf @ 1
1
A
 

jd Lc 1  hc
Aj
Aj
Lb

A:4

Fig. A.3 shows an idealization of a frame sub-assemblage with a


nite volume joint and centerline elements for the beams and columns framing into the joint. The joint is subject to a shear strain c,
resulting in displacements Db and Dc of the beams and columns,
respectively.

Db

c Lc
2


 hb

2

c Lb
Dc
 hc
2 2

A:8

A:9

In the proposed model, shown in Fig. A.4, the column is modeled


such that the column extends to the center of the joint, rather than
the face of the joint. The displacement Dc can be replicated using a
rotation of hc, measured from the vertical axis, at the center of the
joint:

A.C. Birely et al. / Engineering Structures 34 (2012) 455465

Fig. A.3. Deformations of sub-assemblage due to joint shear strain.

Fig. A.4. Displacements and rotations of proposed model.

hc

c
2

1

2hb
Lc


A:10

This rotation causes a displacement in the beams of:

Dhbc hc



Lb c Lb hb Lb


2 2 2
Lc

A:11

The hinge at the beamjoint interface must account for the difference between the beam displacement of the physical system, Db,
and the beam displacement due to the column rotation of the modeled system, Dhc
c . This is represented in equation form as:

1
Db  Dhbc Lb  hc hb
2

A:12

Inserting Eqs. (A.9) and (A.11) into Eq. (A.12) and solving for hb provides a relationship between the spring rotation hb and the shear
strain c that will ensure that the boundary conditions of the model
are satised.



hb L b
1
hb c Lb 
 hc
Lb  hc
Lc
0
1
h
b
hb c@1   A
Lc hL c

A:13
A:14

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