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Engineering Structures 40 (2012) 205–217

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Engineering Structures
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Static and dynamic analysis of a reinforced concrete flat slab frame building
for progressive collapse
Seweryn Kokot ⇑, Armelle Anthoine, Paolo Negro, George Solomos
Joint Research Centre – Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen, European Laboratory for Structural Assessment, Ispra, Italy

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: The problem of structural progressive collapse has been investigated using a real-scale reinforced con-
Received 1 September 2011 crete flat-slab frame building, which has survived collapse after two of its central columns had been phys-
Revised 2 February 2012 ically destroyed. The numerical study undertaken considers three loading scenarios, in which alternately
Accepted 5 February 2012
three different columns are being instantaneously removed, and in each case the structural response of
Available online 28 March 2012
the frame is calculated. A finite-element linear static analysis has first been conducted. To account for
severe dynamic effects occurring during fast dynamic events, such as explosions or impacts, dynamic
linear and nonlinear time history analyses have next been performed. For each scenario the results have
Progressive collapse
Reinforced concrete frame building
been processed in terms of demand-resistance ratios at critical cross-sections, and thus it has been
Column removal assessed whether the building would be susceptible to progressive collapse according to certain allow-
Alternate load path method ance criteria prescribed in technical guidelines. In this respect, three definitions of dynamic factors are
Dynamic nonlinear analysis introduced and their effective applicability is assessed in view of actually calculated and guidelines-sug-
gested values. Results show overall that the approaches of linear static and dynamic analyses would have
produced progressive collapse conditions. The nonlinear dynamic analysis predicts no mechanism which
might lead to progressive collapse, even though several plastic hinges would be formed. Merits of using
static or dynamic, linear or nonlinear analyses are discussed.
Ó 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction is allowed, then the structure must be verified using the alternate
load path method in which a load-bearing element is removed
Progressive collapse of structures occurs when a local failure from the structure. If no local failure is allowed, then key elements
triggers successive failures and leads to the total collapse or a col- must be designed to sustain a notional accidental action. More de-
lapse disproportionate to the original cause. There have been a few tailed information on the state-of-the-art in the field of progressive
world-wide known examples of progressive collapses such as that collapse can be found in [3–8].
of the Ronan Point residential apartment building (London, 1968), Following the issue of the guidelines [1,2], there have been pub-
of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building (Oklahoma, 1995), etc. The lished several research papers presenting numerical analyses con-
first progressive collapse regulatory documents followed the cerning progressive collapse of steel and reinforced concrete
Ronan Point partial collapse and were included into the British structures. To give a few examples of recent studies, Marjanishvili
standards. In turn, after the total collapse of the World Trade Cen- and Agnew [9], analysed a model of a nine-storey steel moment-
ter towers, many research activities have led to more detailed resistant frame building applying four methods of the indirect ap-
guidelines on designing and preventing progressive collapses proach using SAP 2000 finite element software. Similarly Fu [10]
(e.g. [1–3]). considered a twenty-storey steel composite frame building model
There are basically two approaches when dealing with the eval- under column removal using ABAQUS. Tsai and Lin [11] investi-
uation and prevention of progressive collapses in a given structure. gated progressive collapse resistance of an earthquake-resistant
The first indirect approach consists in ensuring that the structure reinforced concrete building model subjected to column failure
satisfies prescriptive design rules (such as requirements on struc- using SAP 2000. Kwasniewski [12] analysed an eight-storey steel
tural integrity and ductility or the presence of vertical and horizon- building using LS-DYNA software focusing on 3D detailed
tal ties). The second direct approach uses two possibilities modelling and identifying critical parameters for the potential of
depending on whether local failure is allowed or not. If local failure progressive collapse. Recently, Iribarren et al. [13] used a more
sophisticated approach consisted of a detailed modelling of rein-
forced concrete cross-sections to analyse a five-storey RC planar
⇑ Corresponding author. frame model.
E-mail address: (S. Kokot).

0141-0296/$ - see front matter Ó 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
206 S. Kokot et al. / Engineering Structures 40 (2012) 205–217

the removal of two central columns, but also how challenging

the structural testing against progressive collapse is.
However, buildings can be exposed to fast dynamic abnormal
events, such as bomb explosions or impacts, so the dynamic nature
of the loading must be considered. Therefore, the first objective of
this work is to re-evaluate the previously mentioned frame build-
ing using linear and nonlinear dynamic analyses according to the
alternate load path method. In other words, this study tries to an-
swer the question: what would have happened if the columns had
been destroyed dynamically in an almost instantaneous manner?
The second objective is to learn how much the effects of the fast
dynamic column removal are greater compared to the effects of
the static approach. To this end, three definitions of dynamic fac-
tors are discussed. Finally, the third objective is to identify the
advantages when redistribution of bending moments due to plastic
hinges is taken into account.

2. Description of the structure

The structure was a 3-storey 2-bay reinforced concrete frame

building with a 0.24 m thick slab (Fig. 1). The height of each storey
was 2.7 m and the bays were 6 m and 4 m long. The structure con-
tained two main frames connected together with transverse beams
(Fig. 2). The girder beams were 1 m wide and 0.24 m high. The
frames were supported by square columns of dimensions
0.4  0.4 m. In each frame, there existed an eccentricity of 0.2 m
between the axes of beams and columns. Because of the reduced
Fig. 1. Front view.
beam height, they had quite high reinforcement on both sides,
with only some rebars anchored to the column joints. The details
of reinforcement are shown in Figs. 3 and 4.
In the European Laboratory for Structural Assessment (ELSA), a
reinforced concrete flat-slab frame building was tested to evaluate 2.1. Materials
its safety against collapse (see [14,15]). First, static linear and non-
linear analyses of the building under column removals were per- The materials of the structure were C25/30 concrete and S500
formed and then two columns of the building were actually steel. In addition, laboratory tests were performed on cubes of con-
demolished, one after the other, to observe the building behaviour. crete and on three specimens of each rebar diameter. The mean va-
This experiment has shown not only that the structure survived lue of concrete strength f cm is 32.8 MPa. For /20 steel rebars the

Fig. 2. Floor plan.

S. Kokot et al. / Engineering Structures 40 (2012) 205–217 207

where As is the area of reinforcement bars in the beam cross-sec-

tion, fs is the characteristic value of strength of steel (524.6 MPa
for rebars /20), and d is the distance from the centre of reinforce-
ment to the extreme compressed concrete fibres of the beam
cross-section. The calculated resistance for the beams are presented
in Table 1 (a – longer bay, b – shorter bay). Note that for those
beams which will undergo bending reversal after the column re-
moval two values of resistance are listed in Table 1 (positive and
negative moment). The assumption of neglecting the axial forces
is justified because usually the axial forces in beams are relatively
small and they increase/decrease the bending moment resistance
only marginally.
For columns, the pure axial resistance is calculated as
Nr ¼ Ac fc þ As fs ð2Þ
where Ac is the area of the concrete cross-section and fc is the
strength of concrete in compression (32.8 MPa). Their approxi-
mated pure bending resistance is calculated via Eq. (1), Table 2.
However, for columns, the influence of axial force on bending mo-
Fig. 3. Elevation and column rebars.
ment resistance cannot be neglected. Therefore the actual bending
moment resistance is obtained from the interaction diagrams calcu-
lated with the commercial software SAP 2000 for four types of col-
mean yield, ultimate strength and ultimate strain are as follows: umn cross-sections.
f y ¼ 524:6 MPa, f t ¼ 642:6 MPa and eu ¼ 11:07%. The internal forces are obtained from a FE calculation using the
SAP 2000, and in the most loaded cross-sections they are compared
2.2. Resistance of the frame elements to the corresponding resistance values.

Assuming that in beams failure is due to bending (neglecting 2.3. Summary of the quasi-static experiment for progressive collapse
axial and shear forces), the approximate beam moment resistance
is calculated as The structure was first tested pseudodynamically against a de-
sign earthquake. The results reported in [16] showed that the
M r ¼ 0:85As fs d ð1Þ
structure suffered minor damage. Then the structure was devoted

Fig. 4. Beam rebars.

208 S. Kokot et al. / Engineering Structures 40 (2012) 205–217

Table 1
Resistance of beams.

Beam Mr (kNm) Mr (kNm)

Floors 1–2
a – left 197.087
a – middle 92.349
a – right 225.242 176.815
b – left 225.242 176.815
b – middle 92.349
b – right 112.621
Floor 3
a – left 168.932
a – middle 92.349
a – right 197.087 148.660
b – left 197.087 148.660
b – middle 92.349
b – right 112.621

Fig. 5. State of the building at the end of Phase 1.

Table 2
Axial and simplified bending resistance of columns.

Column Nr (kN) Mr (kNm)

Floor 1
1 5836.481 96.821
2 6170.202 151.282
3 5836.481 96.821
Floor 2
1 5836.481 96.821
2 5836.481 96.821
3 5697.431 74.128
Floor 3
1 5994.072 122.539
2 5836.481 96.821
3 5697.431 74.128

to controlled demolition with the goal of investigating its safety

against collapse.
The experiment consisted in cutting the columns, one after an-
Fig. 6. State of the building at the end of Phase 2 (Note that the second central
other. In the first phase, one central column was cut out and, as can column is cut at the base).
be seen in Fig. 5, the building withstood the lack of this load-bear-
ing member. In the second phase, the other central column was re-
moved and, again, the structure survived (see Fig. 6). Then, there
was concern that the building would collapse in an uncontrolled
manner (after a complete removal of another column), therefore,
for safety reasons, it was decided to progressively destroy two
external columns to provoke a pancake-type collapse (see Fig. 7).
Since the experiment took into account only the static behav-
iour of the structure, a question arises whether the structure would
have survived if a column/columns had been destroyed dynami-
cally in an instantaneous manner. In the following sections, the re-
sults of numerical linear and nonlinear, static and dynamic
analyses are presented to give a preliminary answer to this

3. Finite element model

A finite element model of the analysed structure has been cre-

ated in SAP 2000. It contains 186 frame elements and 171 nodes.
The element and node numbers shown in Fig. 8 are used in the se-
Fig. 7. The building during the pancake-type collapse.
quel to display the numerical results. The first longer bay in the x-
direction is referred to as ‘a-bay’, while the second one as ‘b-bay’.
In this work three principal scenarios have been considered: analyses, in this paper only the self-weight is considered to be able
sudden removal of the central column, of the left corner column to compare the numerical results with the experiment. The perma-
and finally of the right corner column, one at a time. nent load was equal to 3.5 kN/m2 (actual concrete structure
Although both guidelines [1,2] recommend applying the combi- weight) plus 2.0 kN/m2 (representing several permanent fixtures
nation of permanent (dead) and variable (live) loads in structural on the structure) and was modelled as a uniformly distributed
S. Kokot et al. / Engineering Structures 40 (2012) 205–217 209

Fig. 8. Finite element model of the analysed frame in SAP 2000 – element and node numbers.

Fig. 9. Loads on the frame – simulation of the column removal (from SAP 2000).

linear load applied to the girders to account for the one-way node. In the second step these reaction forces are simultaneously
behaviour of the concrete slabs. and abruptly brought to zero. In practice this is accomplished in
In the current dynamic analyses the simulation of the column SAP 2000 by applying at these points a similar set of forces/mo-
removal is performed as follows: The column to be removed is first ments of increasing magnitude in the opposite direction (see
replaced by the corresponding reaction forces at the appropriate Fig. 9). The rate of the column removal is specified by a time
210 S. Kokot et al. / Engineering Structures 40 (2012) 205–217

Table 3 The results obtained from these static computations are com-
Bending moments in beams, no column removal, comparison with resistance, frames pared with the structural resistances using the so called demand-
1 and 2.
resistance ratios (DRRs), also referred to as demand-capacity ratios.
Frames 1 and 2 Ms (kNm) A local DRR is defined in each section as
Beam a – left a – mid a – right b – left b – mid b – right
Floor 3 43.34 30.04 52.52 29.30 11.08 17.84 < M max =M r
> in beamsðbending moment onlyÞ
Floor 2 49.59 27.18 51.98 23.07 11.46 23.31 DRR ¼ N max =N r in barsðaxial force onlyÞ
Floor 1 47.22 28.26 52.18 26.90 11.28 19.84
M max =M r ðNÞ in columnsðcombined bending moment and axial forceÞ
Ms/Mr (%) ð3Þ
Floor 3 25.66 32.53 26.65 14.87 12.00 15.84
Floor 2 25.16 29.43 23.08 10.24 12.41 20.70
Floor 1 23.96 30.60 23.17 11.94 12.21 17.62
where Mmax and Nmax are the maximum moment and axial force
acting on the section while Mr and Nr are the bending moment
and axial resistances of the section, respectively. The global DRR
is taken as the maximum local DRR over the entire structure i.e.
Table 4
Axial forces and bending moments in columns, no column removal, comparison with
DRRmax. For reinforced concrete structures, both [1,2] specify that
resistance, frames 1 and 2. the value of 200% for the demand-resistance ratio should not be ex-
ceeded, otherwise the structure is deemed as prone to progressive
Frame 1 Ns (kN)
Column 1 2 3
Floor 3 top 50.45 91.02 31.78
Floor 3 bot 50.45 91.02 31.78
4.1. Before column demolition
Floor 2 top 102.02 177.99 66.49
Floor 2 bot 102.02 177.99 66.49
Floor 1 top 153.17 267.20 99.38 This phase concerns the frames in the intact state, i.e. all ele-
Floor 1 bot 153.17 267.20 99.38 ments are present, as compared to the subsequent phases where
Ms (kNm) one or more columns are destroyed.
Floor 3 top 43.34 23.21 17.84 The results, being exactly the same for both frames, are dis-
Floor 3 bot 28.06 16.89 13.45 played only once. The values of internal forces (bending moments
Floor 2 top 21.53 12.02 9.86 and axial forces) in the most representative/critical cross-sections
Floor 2 bot 26.91 14.82 11.75 are given in Table 3 for beams and in Table 4 for columns. The load-
Floor 1 top 20.31 10.46 8.09
Floor 1 bot 9.09 5.98 4.87
ing corresponds to the aforementioned self-weight of (3.5 + 2) kN/
m2. In the Tables, the resultant internal forces are given at the dif-
Mr(Ns) (kNm)
ferent cross-sections (l – left, mid - midspan, r – right) of each bay
Floor 3 top 147.78 126.38 91.24 (a – longer bay, b – shorter bay) together with the ratios between
Floor 3 bot 147.78 126.38 91.24
the resultant internal forces and the element resistances (demand/
Floor 2 top 128.30 140.57 97.38
Floor 2 bot 128.30 140.57 122.09 resistance ratio – DRR). Note that the Mr values in these Tables are
Floor 1 top 136.71 212.03 127.84 obtained from the corresponding interaction diagrams. As an
Floor 1 bot 136.71 212.03 127.84 example, Fig. 10 shows how the value of Mr is obtained for the
Ms/Mr(Ns) (%) first-floor central columns (with rebars /20) under the axial force
Floor 3 top 29.33 18.37 19.55 Ns = 267.20 kN. The maximum values of demand/resistance ratios
Floor 3 bot 18.99 13.36 14.74 are: at the midspan of the a-beams on the third floor
Floor 2 top 16.78 8.55 10.13 (DRR = 32.53%) and at the top of the left column on the third floor
Floor 2 bot 20.97 10.54 9.62 (DRR = 29.33%) and clearly these values are relatively small.
Floor 1 top 14.86 4.93 6.33
Floor 1 bot 6.65 2.82 3.81

4.2. One central column removed

function, which is chosen as a linear ramp. For actual bomb explo-
Many current progressive collapse provisions in codes, stan-
sions, the time in which a structural member is destroyed is very
dards and guidelines (e.g [1,2,17]) require that the load-bearing
short (some milliseconds). In the presented FE calculations, the re-
elements are removed anywhere in the structure, one at a time,
moval time is selected to be 5 ms, which implies a quasi instanta-
and check if progressive collapse could occur. As the first damage
neous removal. The dynamic effects of the removal rate on the
scenario a central column in the first frame is removed. The bend-
dynamic response of the structure have already been investigated
ing moment and axial force distributions for both frames in the
in [7] and the results have showed that the most unfavourable dy-
most critical cross-sections are given in Tables 5–7.
namic effects occur when the column is destroyed within a time
The linear static analysis shows that the most loaded cross-sec-
close to zero (below 5 ms). The dynamic computations are per-
tions are in the first frame, namely the right-end of the b-beam on
formed starting from the equilibrium position of the intact struc-
the second floor (DRR = 123.72%) and the top of the right column
ture under gravity loads (zero initial velocities) and assuming a
on the third floor (DRR = 107.77%). The vertical displacement at
5% viscous damping.
node 48 is equal to 0.0167 m.
These results indicate only minor yielding, so the structure
4. Linear static analysis would not be susceptible to collapse, statically. However, accord-
ing to the guidelines in [1,2], a structure would be susceptible to
These analyses have already been performed and the results re- progressive collapse, dynamically. This is because its demand-
ported in [14]. However, to make this paper self-contained, they resistance ratio exceeds 200% when the permanent loads are mul-
have been reproduced to facilitate comparison with the dynamic tiplied by a factor of 2 (to account for dynamic effects) in the com-
analyses. putation of internal forces.
S. Kokot et al. / Engineering Structures 40 (2012) 205–217 211

Finding Mr(Ns) from the interaction diagram (rebars φ 20) Table 6

7000 Axial forces and bending moments in columns, central column removed statically,
comparison with resistance, Frame 1.

6000 Frame 1 Ns (kN)

Column 1 2 3
Floor 3 81.30 10.37 81.58
Floor 2 166.99 1.68 175.84
axial force [kN]

4000 Floor 1 250.39 – 267.37

Ms (kNm)
Floor 3 top 129.79 30.24 107.81
Floor 3 bot 85.39 18.54 77.40
Floor 2 top 65.89 27.84 60.40
Floor 2 bot 96.46 39.55 60.30
1000 Floor 1 top 41.52 – 74.43
Ns = 267.20kN Floor 1 bot 31.79 – 25.19
0 Mr=212.03kNm Mr(Ns) (kNm)
Floor 3 152.61 112.29 100.04
−1000 Floor 2 138.86 110.78 116.69
0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400
Floor 1 151.84 – 154.49
bending moment [kNm]
Ms/Mr(Ns) (%)
Fig. 10. Interaction diagram for a column with rebars /20.
Floor 3 top 85.05 26.93 107.77
Floor 3 bot 55.95 16.51 77.37
Floor 2 top 47.45 25.13 51.76
Floor 2 bot 69.47 35.70 43.00
Table 5
Floor 1 top 27.34 – 48.18
Bending moments in beams, central column removed statically, comparison with
Floor 1 bot 20.94 – 16.31
resistance, frames 1 and 2.

Frame 1 Ms (kNm)
Beam a – left a – mid a – right b – left b – mid b – right
Floor 3 130.01 35.93 45.94 77.46 18.26 110.25
0.0142 m. In this case, the linear static calculation indicates that
Floor 2 150.60 28.51 51.69 99.12 14.54 139.33 the structure would not be prone to progressive collapse neither
Floor 1 138.13 34.10 50.41 91.30 12.20 136.21 statically (DRR < 200%) nor dynamically (DRR < 200%)
Ms/Mr (%)
Floor 3 76.96 38.91 30.90 52.11 19.77 97.89
Floor 2 76.41 30.87 29.23 56.06 15.74 123.72 5. Linear dynamic analysis
Floor 1 70.09 36.93 28.51 51.64 13.21 120.95
Frame 2 Ms (kNm) This section presents the results of the three scenarios of col-
Floor 3 46.52 29.92 49.56 33.69 11.38 12.85 umn removal using linear dynamic analysis. The advantage of this
Floor 2 54.43 27.04 47.42 29.47 11.59 16.65 kind of calculations is that dynamic effects are inherently incorpo-
Floor 1 51.71 28.14 47.94 33.07 11.46 13.32 rated in the analysis as opposed to an a priori assumed dynamic
Ms/Mr (%) factor to be applied on the results of the static analysis. Since it
Floor 3 27.54 32.40 25.15 17.09 12.32 11.41 provides a more realistic distribution of the internal forces over
Floor 2 27.62 29.28 21.05 13.08 12.55 14.78 the structure, the linear dynamic analysis is expected to give a
Floor 1 26.24 30.47 21.28 14.68 12.41 11.83 more reliable estimate of the actual maximum demand-resistance
ratio (DRRmax) characterising the structural robustness against pro-
gressive collapse. Furthermore, the actual dynamic factor that
4.3. One left corner column removed should be applied to the static analysis results, can be computed
a posteriori.
In the second damage scenario a left corner column is removed It is however worth mentioning that the notion of dynamic fac-
from the first frame. tor is well-defined only for a single-degree-of-freedom system
The maximum demand-resistance ratios are reached on the where all quantities (force, displacement, DRR, etc.) lead to the
third floor at the right-end of the a-beam (DRR = 132.64%) and at same dynamic/static ratio. In a multi-degree-of-freedom system,
the top of the right column (DRR = 92.31%). The vertical displace- different definitions can be adopted which lead to different values
ment at node 25 equals 0.0552 m. Therefore, according to the rules of the dynamic factor, namely:
of thumb mentioned earlier, a progressive collapse is unlikely un-
der static conditions (DRR < 200%) but is possible under dynamic  The ratio of the dynamic and static maximum deflection at the
conditions (DRR > 200%). top of the removed column (Definition 1),
 the maximum ratio of the dynamic and static local DRR (Defini-
tion 2),
4.4. One right corner column removed  the ratio of the dynamic and static DRRmax (Definition 3).

The last case deals with the removal of a right corner column Despite the apparent soundness of the first two definitions, the
from the first frame. This case is similar to the previous one and third definition may be preferable because it provides a weighted
is more favourable because the span of the right bay is shorter. global dynamic factor, as it will be confirmed by the results of
The demand-resistance ratios are far below 100% in all members. the linear and nonlinear dynamic analyses. If this dynamic factor
The maximum DRR values are 66.23% for beams and 39.2% for col- is applied to the static results, the output of the dynamic analysis
umns and the vertical displacement at node 69 is equal to is recovered in terms of robustness (value of DRRmax).
212 S. Kokot et al. / Engineering Structures 40 (2012) 205–217

Table 7 Table 9
Axial forces and bending moments in columns, central column removed statically, Maximum axial forces and bending moments in columns, central column removed
comparison with resistance, frame 2. dynamically, comparison with resistance values, Frame 1, linear analysis.

Frame 2 Ns (kN) Frame 1 N max

d (kN)
Column 1 2 3 Column 1 2 3
Floor 3 51.47 92.34 29.44 Floor 3 105.59 91.02 118.76
Floor 2 104.61 183.00 60.88 Floor 2 221.10 177.99 262.91
Floor 1 157.22 273.94 90.60 Floor 1 328.27 – 406.82
Ms (kNm) M max
d (kNm)
Floor 3 top 46.74 17.15 15.29 Floor 3 top 189.97 67.52 170.27
Floor 3 bot 29.31 12.79 12.01 Floor 3 bot 134.29 41.98 118.30
Floor 2 top 24.44 6.20 6.18 Floor 2 top 87.40 71.50 109.33
Floor 2 bot 30.31 8.66 7.97 Floor 2 bot 157.38 91.72 90.09
Floor 1 top 21.54 7.56 6.82 Floor 1 top 66.94 – 150.73
Floor 1 bot 15.78 3.42 3.41 Floor 1 bot 92.68 – 102.47
Mr(Ns) (kNm) Nd (kN) for M max
Floor 3 147.94 126.61 90.83 Floor 3 top 105.20 12.24 118.33
Floor 2 128.75 141.35 96.38 Floor 3 bot 105.44 16.54 117.71
Floor 1 137.34 155.51 126.30 Floor 2 top 220.88 11.37 262.00
Ms/Mr(Ns) (%) Floor 2 bot 220.74 22.18 261.21
Floor 1 top 229.94 – 399.56
Floor 3 top 31.59 13.55 16.83 Floor 1 bot 221.17 – 403.76
Floor 3 bot 19.81 10.10 13.22
Floor 2 top 18.98 4.39 6.41 Mr(Nd) (kNm)
Floor 2 bot 23.54 6.13 6.58 Floor 3 156.38 113.37 106.42
Floor 1 top 15.68 4.86 5.40 Floor 2 147.23 114.36 130.93
Floor 1 bot 11.49 2.20 2.70 Floor 1 147.29 – 175.72

M max
d /Mr(Nd) (%)

Floor 3 top 121.51 59.95 159.83

Floor 3 bot 85.87 37.03 111.16
Table 8
Floor 2 top 59.35 63.57 83.50
Maximum bending moments in beams, central column removed dynamically,
Floor 2 bot 106.89 80.20 58.68
comparison with resistance, frames 1 and 2, linear analysis.
Floor 1 top 45.03 – 86.10
Frame 1 Md (kNm) Floor 1 bot 62.92 – 58.31

Beam a – left a – mid a – right b – left b – mid b – right M max

d =Mr ðN d Þ
(local dyn. factor)
M s =M r ðN s Þ
Floor 3 190.21 52.12 102.04 136.70 25.93 174.17
Floor 2 220.48 40.21 98.50 180.72 21.16 228.94 Floor 3 top 1.43 2.23 1.48
Floor 1 186.13 49.57 96.26 176.65 15.92 239.37 Floor 3 bot 1.53 2.24 1.44
Floor 2 top 1.25 2.53 1.61
Md/Mr (%)
Floor 2 bot 1.54 2.25 1.36
Floor 3 112.60 56.44 68.64 91.95 28.08 154.65 Floor 1 top 1.65 – 1.79
Floor 2 111.87 43.54 55.71 102.21 22.91 203.28 Floor 1 bot 3.00 – 3.58
Floor 1 94.44 53.68 54.44 99.91 17.24 212.54
Md/Ms – local dynamic factor
 remove this column from the FE model and apply these internal
Floor 3 1.46 1.45 2.22 1.76 1.42 1.58
Floor 2 1.46 1.41 1.91 1.82 1.46 1.64 forces as reactions in its place,
Floor 1 1.35 1.45 1.91 1.93 1.30 1.76  apply these reaction forces again but in the opposite direction
Frame 2 Md (kNm) using a linear ramp function,
 perform linear time history analysis with initial conditions (sta-
Floor 3 56.25 30.38 54.08 46.62 12.01 18.79
Floor 2 68.53 27.41 55.26 49.40 11.99 27.71 tic deformation and zero velocities) and 5% critical damping.
Floor 1 63.92 28.70 58.63 49.62 12.01 29.51
Md/Mr (%) The results obtained from these dynamic computations (time
histories of internal forces) are compared with the resistances
Floor 3 33.30 32.90 27.44 23.65 13.01 16.68
Floor 2 34.77 29.68 24.53 21.93 12.98 24.60
using Eq. (3) and with the corresponding static responses obtained
Floor 1 32.43 31.08 26.03 22.03 13.01 26.20 in the previous section.
Md/Ms – local dynamic factor
5.1. One central column removed
Floor 3 1.21 1.02 1.09 1.38 1.06 1.46
Floor 2 1.26 1.01 1.17 1.68 1.03 1.66
Floor 1 1.24 1.02 1.22 1.50 1.05 2.22 The response of the structure to the sudden removal of the cen-
tral column in the first frame is determined. Based on the enve-
lopes of the internal forces (bending moments and axial forces)
in both frames, the corresponding maximum values for beams
The procedure used in the calculations has been presented in and columns are presented in Tables 8 and 9. For columns of Frame
Section 3. In summary, the following steps were carried out in 2 (results not reported in full due to space limitation), the maxi-
SAP 2000: mum value of DRR is 38.08% at the top of the left third column.
As could be expected, Frame 2 is significantly less affected than
 Build a FE model, Frame 1 where the column was removed, a fact that can be ex-
 find the internal forces at the top of a column to be removed plained by the one-way behaviour of the flat-slab frame. The most
under the self-weight loading, critical sections in terms of demand-resistance ratio are the right-
S. Kokot et al. / Engineering Structures 40 (2012) 205–217 213

Deflections at nodes 48, 25 and 69




deflection [m]




−0.07 central column removed − node 48

left column removed − node 25
−0.08 right column removed − node 69


0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2
t [s]

Fig. 11. Vertical deflections for three column removal scenarios at nodes of maximum deflections for linear dynamic analysis.

end of the b-beam on the first floor (DRR = 212.54%) and the top of
the right column on the third floor (DRR = 159.83%). Since the de-
mand-resistance ratio for beams exceeded the 200% threshold, the
building is susceptible to progressive collapse.
As for local dynamic factors (Definition 2) in beams, the maxi-
mum values are reached at the right-end of the a-beam at the third
floor in the first frame but also at the right-end of the b-beam at
the first floor in the second frame (2.22), while in columns, the
maximum dynamic factors are much larger and reach values of
3.58 and 8.71 in the first and second frame, respectively. This fact
demonstrates that it is difficult to draw any conclusion from the lo-
cal dynamic factors because they are highly heterogeneous
throughout the structure, especially in columns where the static
and dynamic forces are quite different. On the other hand, much
more representative is the global dynamic factor according to Def-
inition 3 and here for beams, it is equal to 1.72, while for columns
1.48. Fig. 12. Definition of a plastic hinge for beam elements.
The time history of the maximum displacement of the structure
at node 48 is plotted in Fig. 11. It is seen that the dynamic curve
practically oscillates about the corresponding static deflection va- 5.3. One right corner column removed
lue, and the maximum is obtained for t ffi 0.09 s.
From the maximum displacement of the dynamic (0.0268 m) For the right corner column removal scenario, the maximum
and static (0.0167 m) responses at node 48, a ratio of 1.60 is found, demand-resistance ratios are 84.54% for beams (right-end of the
which can be interpreted as another global dynamic factor (Defini- a-beam on the third floor of Frame 1) and 69.41% for columns
tion 1). (top of the right column on the second floor of Frame 1). In this
case, the maximum local dynamic factor is the largest observed
5.2. One left corner column removed so far (59.34), which can be explained by the small static bending
moment of 0.32 kNm. On the other hand, the global dynamic fac-
For the left corner column removal scenario, the maximum de- tor, for beams, equals 1.28, while for columns 1.77.
mand-resistance ratios are 199.54% for beams (right-end of the a- Fig. 11 shows the vertical displacement at node 69 in time. The
beam of the third floor in Frame 1) and 172.79% for columns (top of maximum value is 0.0207 m at time t ffi 0.31 s. The ratio of the
the right column of the third floor in Frame 1). In this scenario, we maximum linear dynamic deflection and the deflection of the static
can notice even larger local dynamic factors (up to 29.43). For this analysis is 0.0207 m/0.0142 m = 1.46.
scenario, the maximum demand-resistance ratio (almost 200%) is These results demonstrate that this is the most favourable non-
on the verge of treating the building as acceptable/unacceptable failure scenario and that the structure bridges over the lacking col-
against progressive collapse. umn very efficiently. In fact, as will be seen below, the structure
The global dynamic factor (Definition 3), for beams, equals 1.50, remains always in the elastic range.
while for columns 1.87.
Fig. 11 shows how the vertical displacement at node 25 varies 6. Nonlinear dynamic analysis
in time. The maximum value is 0.091 m at time t ffi 0.2 s. The ratio
of the maximum linear dynamic deflection and the deflection for The nonlinear dynamic analysis is the most advanced method
the linear static analysis is 0.091 m/0.0552 m = 1.65. for predicting the response of a structure when a load-bearing
214 S. Kokot et al. / Engineering Structures 40 (2012) 205–217

100  Mmax =Mr if no yielding occurred;
DRR nlin
max plastic rotation
100 1 þ ultimate plastic rotation
if yielding occurred:

This nonlinear DRR coincides with the linear DRR in the absence of
yielding (DRR < 100%). In the presence of yielding ( DRR > 100%), the
nonlinear DRR measures the distance to the ultimate plastic rota-
tion (point C of the moment-curvature relationship, Fig. 12). As
for the linear DRR, the value of 200% is marking the threshold not
to be exceeded (failure of the section) although this does not neces-
sarily implies the collapse of the structure.
In the current analysis three plastic hinges are introduced in
each beam (left, mid and right) and two in each column (bottom
and top), thus resulting in 36 plastic hinges for each frame.

6.1. One central column removed

The nonlinear dynamic analysis for one central column re-

moved shows that, at time 0.039 s, two plastic hinges are activated
almost simultaneously in the first frame, one at the top of the right
column on the third floor and the other at the right-end of the b-
beam on the second floor. Shortly after, at 0.040 s, another plastic
hinge is activated at the right-end of the b-beam on the first floor.
Fig. 13. Final locations of plastic hinges for the central column removal. The final spatial configuration of the plastic hinges activated after
the sudden column removal is shown in Fig. 13.
The time history of the maximum displacement at node 48 is
plotted in Fig. 14. Two solid lines show the comparison between
element is removed quasi-instantaneously. The fundamental dif- the linear and nonlinear time histories of the displacement at node
ference with the linear dynamic analysis is that inelastic behaviour 48. The divergence of the two curves at time 0.04 s is caused by the
and/or geometric nonlinearities are taken into account. Therefore formation of the first plastic hinges mentioned above. Clearly lar-
in the SAP 2000 modelling it requires the definition and assign- ger deflections (up to 0.0315 m), always overshooting the static
ment of plastic hinges at specified positions of selected members. ones, are observed during the nonlinear dynamic analysis owning
The nonlinear time history analysis with the same initial condi- by the formation of the plastic hinges. The ratio of maximum
tions is performed next. deflections at point 48 for nonlinear and linear dynamic analyses
The stress–strain (r  e) relationship for concrete is assumed is 1.18 (0.0315 m/0.0268 m), thus the global dynamic factor (max-
parabolic in the first part and constant in the second part according imum dynamic nonlinear displacement divided by static linear dis-
to the following equation placement) is slightly higher than that of the linear case, that is
  1.89 (0.0315 m/0.0167 m) instead of 1.60 (see subsection 5.1). On
e 2 e the contrary, the bending moments are much lower than in the lin-
rc ¼ f c þ2 ; 0:002 < e < 0; ð4Þ
0:002 0:002 ear case especially, where the plastic hinges are activated, as is to
be expected.
where fc is the compressive strength, e is the strain in concrete, With regards to the properties of the hinges, Fig. 15 presents the
0.002 is the strain value at which the parabola ends. For strains results for a beam plastic hinge (element No. 96), while Fig. 16
between 0.002 and 0.0035 (which is considered as the failure shows the case of a column plastic hinge (element No. 160). There
strain) the stress remains constant. is the possibility to follow the detailed behaviour of the hinge and
For steel, the stress–strain (r  e) relationship is assumed the following information can be produced:
bilinear. The first part is linear elastic with a yield stress of
524.56 MPa and a modulus of elasticity of 206 GPa, while the  The skeleton path of the plastic hinge (thin black line) including
second part is plastic with linear hardening and an ultimate the threshold points (yield, ultimate, residual) and the associ-
stress of 642.56 MPa. ated levels of damage (pink1 – first yielding, blue – immediate
In SAP 2000, the plastic hinge behaviour is defined by a piece- occupancy, cyan – life safety and green – collapse prevention).
wise linear moment-plastic rotation relationship, the characteris- The skeleton path is the moment-plastic rotation relationship
tics of which are identified from the idealised moment-curvature without normal force,
relationship of the section. An example is given in Fig. 12 for a  the actual path followed (thick black line),
beam section: point B is defined by the yielding moment and point  the current time step,
C by the ultimate moment and the corresponding plastic rotation.  the values of the plastic moment and rotation at that current
The curve is usually extended by a softening and residual branch time step.
which has however no importance in the present study since the
plastic hinges never reach their ultimate capacity. For columns, For a beam plastic hinge, the actual path follows exactly the
this moment-plastic rotation relationship depends also on the nor- skeleton path, while for a column plastic hinge, the actual path
mal force and this interaction may be activated in SAP 2000. The usually deviates from the skeleton path because of the influence
values of points B, C, D and E are taken from Ref. [18]. of the normal force on the moment-plastic rotation relationship.
To be able to directly compare the nonlinear results to the linear
ones, the following nonlinear demand-resistance ratio (DRRnlin) is 1
For interpretation of colour in Figs. 1, 5–7, 9–11, 13–18, the reader is referred to
defined as the web version of this article.
S. Kokot et al. / Engineering Structures 40 (2012) 205–217 215

Deflections at nodes 48, 25 and 69



deflection [m]


central column removed − node 48

left column removed − node 25
−0.08 right column removed − node 69



0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2
t [s]

Fig. 14. Vertical deflections for three column removal scenarios at nodes of maximum deflections for nonlinear dynamic analysis.

Fig. 15. Plastic hinge at the right-end of the b-beam on the first floor.

Fig. 17. Final locations of plastic hinges for the left column removal.

In the present case, the demands in the plastic hinges are all be-
low their ultimate capacity. In fact, according to Eq. (5), the maxi-
mum DRRnlin value is 140% in beams and 125% in columns. The
global dynamic factor (Definition 3) for beams is equal to 1.13,
whereas for columns 1.16. The nonlinear dynamic analysis thus
demonstrates that the structure would have survived a sudden re-
moval of the central column.

6.2. One left corner column removed

In the nonlinear analysis of a left corner column removal, two

hinges are activated almost simultaneously at time 0.094 s, one
Fig. 16. Plastic hinge at the top of the right column on the third floor. at the right-end of the a-beam on the first floor, the other on the
216 S. Kokot et al. / Engineering Structures 40 (2012) 205–217

Deflection at node 48
1 column linear dynamic
1 column nonlinear dynamic
−0.005 2 columns linear dynamic
2 columns nonlinear dynamic

deflection [m]





0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2
t [s]

Fig. 18. Comparison of the displacement at node 48 for the cases of one central column and two central columns removal.

bottom of the left column on the second floor. The final spatial dis- This nonlinear dynamic analysis shows that the structure would
tribution of activated plastic hinges is shown in Fig. 17. have survived a sudden removal of the left corner column. Again,
The ratio of the maximum deflections at node 25 for nonlinear the total or partial collapse would not have happened thanks to
and linear dynamic analyses is 1.29 (0.117 m/0.091 m), leading to a an appropriate activation of plastic hinges and redistribution of
global dynamic factor (Definition 1) of 2.12 (0.117 m/0.0552 m) bending moments.
with respect to the linear static analysis.
The dashed lines in Fig. 14 compare nonlinear and linear time
histories of displacement at node 25. The maximum DRRnlin values 6.3. One right corner column removed
are 149% for beams and 134% for columns. Similarly, the global dy-
namic factor according to Definition 3 is 1.12 for beams and 1.45 When it comes to the case where a right corner column is re-
for columns. moved, the linear dynamic analysis has shown that the structure

Table 10
Summary of results.
S. Kokot et al. / Engineering Structures 40 (2012) 205–217 217

remains elastic, so the nonlinear analysis gives exactly the same re- demand-resistance ratios, is insignificant and misleading because
sults as in subsection 5.3. huge dynamic factors may be found in columns for instance, but
they result from the relatively small value of the internal forces
7. Two central columns removed in the static analysis. The global dynamic factor defined from the
displacement of the node above the removed element, does not
In all three scenarios considered, the structure has experienced present such a drawback but remains quite different from the true
limited or no damage. In order to assess the robustness of the dynamic factor computed as the ratio of the dynamic/static maxi-
structure, the case of two central columns removal has also been mum DRR.
studied through linear and nonlinear dynamic analyses. It is re- The nonlinear dynamic analysis (taking into account the capa-
minded that the real structure had survived that event. bility of redistribution of internal forces) indicates that the pro-
The results have been summarised in Fig. 18 where the time gressive collapse of the building would not have happened, that
history of the displacement at node 48 is plotted for the linear/ is, the propagating failure would have been arrested. For both
nonlinear analysis of one/two column(s) removal. It can be seen the central and left corner column removals several plastic hinges
that no matter whether one or two central columns are removed would have formed in the structure, yet all of them would have
from the structure, the response does not change drastically. The been far below their ultimate capacity (two yellow areas in the
period of vibration becomes slightly longer in the second case be- summary Table). For the right corner column removal, no yielding
cause the remaining structure is less rigid. This behaviour can be would have occurred, as already foreseen by the linear dynamic
explained by the one-way action of the flat-slab frame. In other analysis.
words, each frame appears to be damaged essentially by the re- Certainly more sophisticated models could have been adopted
moval of its own central column. in the analysis. In particular it is noted that the structural member
strengths as calculated here correspond to the static properties of
8. Conclusions their constituent materials, concrete and steel. For the current
loading conditions considerations of high strain-rate effects should
This work presents the results of an extended study of the flat- be taken into account, and this is the subject of an investigation in
slab frame building which has been analysed and tested quasi-stat- course.
ically at the European Laboratory for Structural Assessment. The
scope of a previous study was limited to the investigation of the References
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