Seismic Fragility Assessment of Steel Frames in the Central and Eastern United States
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The Central and Eastern United States (CEUS) is a region that is characterized by low frequency-high consequence seismic events such as the New Madrid sequence of 18111812. The infrequent nature of earthquakes in the region has led to a perception that the seismic risk in the area is low, and the current building stock reflects this perception. The majority of steel-framed buildings in the CEUS were designed without regard to seismic loads. Such frames possess limited seismic resistance, and may pose an unacceptable risk if a large earthquake were to occur in the region. A key ingredient of building performance and seismic risk assessment is the fragility, a term that describes the probability of failure to meet a performance objective as a function of demand on the system. The effects of uncertainties on building seismic performance can be displayed by a seismic fragility relationship. This fragility can be used in a conditional scenario-based seismic risk assessment or can be integrated with seismic hazard to obtain an estimate of annual or lifetime risk. The seismic fragility analyses in this study focus on steel frames that are typical of building construction in regions of infrequent seismicity; such frames have received little attention to date in building seismic risk assessment. Current steel building stock in Shelby Co., TN has been represented by five code-compliant model frames with different lateral force-resisting systems, i.e., braced-frames, partially-restrained moment frames and a rigid moment frame. The performance of model frames under certain hazard levels was assessed using fragility curves. Different rehabilitation methods were discussed and applied. Results indicate that PR frames behave better than expected and rehabilitated frames perform quite well even under severe earthquakes.