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Novel minimal-damage steel seismic-resistant frame

Final Report Summary - MINDAMSEISMICFR (Novel minimal-damage steel seismic-resistant frame)

Conventional seismic-resistant structures are designed to experience significant damage in structural members, and, residual storey drifts under moderate to strong earthquakes. The losses associated with damage and residual storey drifts are repair costs and costly downtime during which the building is repaired and cannot be used or occupied. Under very strong rare earthquakes, conventional structures may also become vulnerable to collapse, and thus, trigger life safety issues. In addition, past earthquakes showed significant damage in non-structural elements (walls, storage racks, acceleration-sensitive medical equipment, etc) due to large storey drifts and floor accelerations. The aforementioned socio-economic risks highlight the need for minimal-damage structures with increased collapse resistance and the inherent potential to reduce structural and non-structural damage.

To address the aforementioned issues, the MinDamSeismicFr project developed a novel minimal-damage steel frame, which:
(a) experiences minimal damage that can be rapidly repaired, and so, offers immediate return to building use or occupation after strong earthquakes
(b) eliminates the probability of collapse (i.e. protection of human life) under very strong rare earthquakes.

The project developed fundamental knowledge, design details and criteria, and performance-based seismic design methods for the proposed novel steel frame by conducting state-of-the-art integrated experimental and analytical research. In particular, the project conducted large-scale experiments; calibration of high-fidelity numerical models to experimental results; parametric studies on the hysteretic behavior of the smart connections and joints of the resilient frame; and numerous numerical simulations of the seismic response of buildings using the proposed frame. These results directly respond to the urgent need of societies for structures that are less vulnerable and easier to repair after strong earthquakes.

In conclusion, the project contributes to the drastic reduction of the economic losses related to repair of structural and non-structural seismic damage; eliminates barriers towards the widespread implementation of minimal-damage structures which are often thought of as being at the high-tech end of earthquake engineering due to the lack of knowledge and practical design procedures; and pushes the boundaries of resilient seismic-resistant design by developing a minimal-damage steel frame, which overcomes the disadvantages of previously developed structural systems.

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