Full-scale seismic testing of a reinforced concrete moment frame using mobile shakers
Wright, Timothy R.
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A prototype reinforced concrete moment frame representative of low-rise office buildings in the Central and Eastern United States from the 1950s-1970s was designed and selected for evaluation under seismic loads. A plane frame specimen from the prototype was incorporated into the design of a test-bed of four full-scale, side-by-side nominally identical structures that could be evaluated independently. The testing of the first frame serves as the topic of this dissertation. The specimen was two bays x two stories x 9-ft. wide. A new method for testing full-scale structures under seismic loads was proposed that used a hydraulic linear inertial shaker (LIS) to impart seismic loads. The response of the structure was monitored using 155 strain gages, 38 linear variable differential transformers, six string potentiometers, and 42 accelerometers. The response of the frame to a series of 25 load histories using the nees@UCLA LIS was marked by gradual structural softening and minimal yielding of the steel reinforcing throughout the structure. At a first interstory drift of 1.5% some yielding of the reinforcing bars was measured. Between 1.5% and 2% first interstory drift, a global sway mechanism formed when the failure of a splice at the base of the first story west column led to a cascading set of failures within other first-story column splices. The experimental behavior suggests previous scaled testing of similar structures may have inadequately represented the vulnerability column splices. The design of the test-bed, response of the structure to seismic loads, qualitative evaluation of the test method, and implications on future research are discussed.