The effect of damping on floor spectral accelerations as inferred from instrumented buildings


This study investigates the effect of damping on the seismic demands imposed on lightweight nonstructural components. The investigation was performed utilizing a total of 113 floor acceleration recordings obtained from instrumented buildings located in California. Results are presented as damping modification factors, which provide information on the seismic demands imposed on secondary systems with various levels of damping relative to 5% damped components. Evaluations of the results indicate a strong period dependence, with the effect of damping being much larger for components that are tuned or nearly tuned and much smaller for components with periods far from the modal periods of the supporting building. Therefore, a better characterization of the effect of damping is achieved if the damping modification factors are a function of the ratio of the period of the component to the modal periods of the supporting structure. As expected, record-to-record variability increases as the level of damping in the secondary component deviates from 5% damping, with an overall probability distribution that is approximately lognormal. Thus, a full probabilistic characterization of the influence of damping on component response is offered via a parametric, period- and damping-dependent model of the mean and lognormal standard deviation of the damping modification factor.

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This work was partially supported by the Applied Technology Council through the ATC-120 project “Seismic Analysis, Design, and Installation of Nonstructural Components and Systems—Background and Recommendations for Future Work” and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The substance of such work is dedicated to the public. Comments and suggestions by members of the project technical committee M. Phipps, J. Gillengerten, W. Holmes. B. Lizundia, R. Medina and R. Pekelnicky are gratefully acknowledged. The authors are solely responsible for the accuracy of statements or interpretations contained in this publication. No warranty is offered with regard to the results, findings and recommendations contained herein, either by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Applied Technology Council, its directors, members or employees. These organizations and individuals do not assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any of the information, product or processes included in this publication.

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Correspondence to A. K. Kazantzi.

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Kazantzi, A.K., Vamvatsikos, D. & Miranda, E. The effect of damping on floor spectral accelerations as inferred from instrumented buildings. Bull Earthquake Eng 18, 2149–2164 (2020).

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  • Damping
  • Damping modification factor
  • Floor spectral accelerations
  • Instrumented buildings
  • Earthquake