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and I decided to spend some time to try and collectively remark on all

these important inter-connected issues (some of it is really basic, but I

think it is always good to go back to the basics, we can never go wrong):

ground motion), if your structure (or your design) does not remain

elastic, i.e., it undergoes plasticity/fracture/damage, then stiffness could

drop dramatically, deformations will increase significantly. Under these

increased deformations, you should ensure that your structure remains

stable without collapsing, i.e., it should not loose vertical load carrying

capacity; you have to detail it in such a way that it can undergo large

deformations without collapsing. The ability of a structure to undergo

large deformations without collapsing is called ductility, and the

detailing of the structure that enables the structure to have large

ductility is called ductile or ductility detailing. The word ductility has a

strict definition in material science where it is defined as the ratio of

ultimate strain to yield strain of the material. The term is loosely used in

earthquake engineering to indicate the degree to which an assembled

structure that is damaged can undergo large deformations without

collapsing.

[2] When do you need Ductility Detailing?

If you can design your structure to remain elastic under the maximum

expected level of earthquake shaking, then there is no need for

ductility detailing. However, engineers recognized long ago that it

was not practically possible to come up with economically or

architecturally viable designs if the structures were to remain

elastic during maximum considered earthquake motions (every

structure would look like a Fort Knox). So, the next best option was to

allow the structure to undergo damage (plasticity, fracture, crushing,

etc.), but make sure that the structure does not loose its vertical

load carrying capacity as it is undergoing large deformations when

damaged. For example, if you want concrete columns to continue

carrying vertical loads even when there is significant cracking,

concrete crushing and/or steel yielding, you would want to confine the

concrete (keep chunks of concrete from falling out of the steel cage)

and you would want to prevent buckling of the longitudinal bars. You

can achieve both of these characteristics by providing very closely

spaced closed ties with 135 degree hooks to sturdily anchor them

against a longitudinal bar.

Because the material has now become compliant the stiffness forces in

the components and structure will drop. In other words, if the

structure were to remain elastic the internal forces (and the total

base shear which is the sum of the internal shear forces in all the

vertical load carrying elements) would be far higher than if the

structure were to be damaged. This reduction in base shear arising

out of the fact that we have allowed the structure to get damaged is

embodied in the "Dynamic Response Modification" factor or the

"Ductility" factor, Rd, in building codes worldwide. Rd is specific

to each type of lateral force resisting system. Rd is higher for

systems where ductility detailing can enable the system to undergo

larger deformations without collapsing when damaged, it is lower for

systems where ductility detailing enables the system to undergo only

smaller deformations before collapsing. Rd is NOT the same as the more

familiar R

factor in building codes. It is one of two factors that go into the

computation of the "R"

factor.

[3] R factor

The R factor is the product of the "ductility" factor, Rd, and the

"overstrength" factor or "total system resistance capacity" factor, Ro

(i.e., R = Rd*Ro). Ro is the ratio of the true structural strength of

individual elements to the design strength. It accounts for load

factors in load combinations, extra system design provisions,

contribution from the gravity system (nonlateral force-resisting

system) and nonstructural elements, as well as the as-built sizes and

materials strength. If you are not doing ductile detailing of any

portion of your structure (say the basement), you can still take

advantage of the overstrength factor (i.e., R = Ro) when you are

designing the basement walls for the maximum considered earthquake

forces.

can be designed to remain elastic during maximum considered

earthquake

motions, i.e., design for R=Ro alone with no allowance for ductility

(Rd=1), then there is no need for any ductility detailing. However,

there is one very important uncertainty, and that is "the actual

earthquake ground motion". What if the maximum considered motions

in

the design are exceeded? This happens all the time (the most recent

Christchurch, New Zealand, event and the Tohoku, Japan event are

examples). Will there not be brittle failures possibly leading to

collapse? To address this and to balance it with economy of

construction, the ACI requires ductility detailing for shear wall

systems in regions of "high seismic risk", but not in regions of

"moderate seismic risk". This in itself may not be a good criterion,

given that both the Christchurch and Tohoku events occurred in regions

where seismicity was considered more moderate. Nevertheless, that is

the criterion as of now. Note: ACI requires ductility detailing for

RC frames even in regions with moderate seismic risk.

systems?

perimeter of the basement, designed as retaining walls for

out-of-plane cantilever bending to resist soil-pressures during

excavation. Their shear capacity (with overstrength included, i.e.,

R=Ro) in the longitudinal direction is usually so large that it far

exceeds the stiffness force demand from the super-structure, i.e., the

deformation demand on these walls will be small. As a result, even in

high seismicity regions, only certain basic, but very important,

ductility requirements need to be satified {two curtains of horizontal

and vertical reinforcement if shear stress exceeds 2*sqrt(fc') [fc'

and sqrt(fc') are in psi units] with certain minimum levels in either

direction}. Boundary elements typically will not be necessary (as the

maximum extreme fiber stress corresponding to factored forces

including earthquake effect will typically not exceed 0.2fc').

However, the boundary elements in the first story of the

super-structure walls should be continued down through the basement

to

the foundations. These should NOT be terminated at the top basement

level or other lower basement levels. This is because the axial

forces resulting from super-structure cantilever bending have to be

transmitted safely to the foundation. Unlike shear forces which can

be redistributed to the basement walls by the floor diaphragm, there

is no mechanism for redistributing these axial forces to the basement

walls.

You would check the basement walls for the following base shear:

wall" system); note that because you are providing basic ductility

detailing, you are allowed to use Rd greater than 1, i.e., R=Ro*Rd.

this case, for example, different structural systems for the

superstructure and the basement), the flexible upper portion should be

designed as a separate structure, supported laterally by the rigid

lower portion. The rigid lower portion should be designed as a

separate structure with the appropriate value of R. The reactions

from the upper portion determined from the analysis of the super

structure should be amplified by the ratio of the R of the upper

structure to that of the lower structure (basement). In the above

equation, Rsuper/Rbasement represents this amplification.

You would still need to combine the seismic shear forces with the

shear forces from soils (if there is a difference in soil heights at

two opposite faces of the building).

(originally drafted by Profs. Murty and Jain when they were at IIT

Kanpur) which draws heavily from the ACI. In Indian seismic zones

III, IV, and V, the ductility detailing requirements are similar to

the ACI requirements described above. You may typically require two

curtains of reinforcement, from either seismic and/or soil retention

during excavation considerations. My own opinion is that confinement

of wall concrete is best achieved by two curtains, and I would design

basement walls that way, even if it is not strictly required by code.

Underground structures such as tunnels being confined by the

surrounding soil medium tend to be pulled, pushed, twisted, and

sheared by the surrounding medium as seismic waves travel through the

medium. They are more susceptible to ground deformation (in the

longitudinal and transverse directions) along their length, as opposed

to accelerations. Axial deformations, curvature changes, racking

deformation of rectangular cross-sections, and/or ovaling of circular

cross-sections can result. Past performance indicates that tunnels

built with shallow soil overburden cover tend to be more vulnerable to

earthquakes than deep ones. Soil-structure interaction is central to

the response (beam on elastic foundation modeling is appropriate). On

the other hand, basements in buildings, unless they are very deep, for

the most part, interact with the ground through the foundations (and

the slab on ground). The confining soils on the sides (no

over-burden) and SSI play a less important role. From the behavioral

and geometric proportioning perspectives, basements in buildings

cannot be equated with other typical underground structures.

underground structure to go inelastic, ductility detailing is

warranted, be it a basement or a tunnel.

This is somewhat unrelated, but one of the posts seemed to suggest

that ductility detailing can be limited to the lateral force-resisting

system only. This is not true. It is important that elements not

part of the lateral system be designed and detailed for deformation

compatibility. If these elements are not capable of sustaining their

gravity loads under the deformations induced by the earthquake (the

deformations that the lateral system is going through), then collapse

will occur. In determining the deformation demands, proper care must

be given to flexural, shear, and axial deformations, P-Delta effects,

diaphragm deformations, foundation deformations (rotations,

differential settlement, etc.), cracked section properties for concrete

elements, torsional and orthogonal effects, etc. For example, gravity

columns must be able to sustain their gravity loads at peak lateral

deformation experienced by the lateral force-resisting system during

the maximum considered earthquake. Ductile detailing will generally

be necessary to achieve proper deformation compatibility.

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