A view of seismic robustness based on uncertainty Vamvatsikos, Dimitrios
A simplified view of robustness and redundancy is presented for the seismic assessment and design of structures. It is argued that the topological simplicity of the seismic load, i.e., its highly correlated nature of application for practically every component in all but the ultra-long structures, means that simpler formulations can be devised compared to blast, wave or wind hazards. In that sense, robustness may be considered to express the influence of structural uncertainties on the seismic performance of the structure, in essence showing the available margin of safety subject to material variability. Quantitatively, a pertinent robustness/redundancy index is defined as the ratio of two different estimates of the mean annual frequency (MAF) of exceeding a limit-state of interest, such as global collapse: On the denominator lies the MAF estimate that incorporates all sources of variability while on the nominator is the estimate that neglects structural uncertainties. It is shown that a simple closed form solution is available that directly relates robustness to the dispersion of response due to model parameter uncertainty. As an example, a steel frame where only beams are allowed to yield is shown to be more robust compared to another version where columns become the sacrificial element.
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