Cyclic testing of a full-scale two-storey reinforced precast concrete wall-slab-wall structure


In recent years, the phenomena of induced and triggered seismicity have attracted significant attention in countries that are not prone to hazard from natural seismicity, motivating the need for experimental testing of existing structures that are built without any particular seismic design and/or detailing criteria. This paper describes thus the pseudostatic cyclic testing of a full-scale two-storey lightly reinforced precast concrete wall-slab-wall structure, representative of a building typology that was found to be a very common form of housing in the region of Groningen (The Netherlands), where seismic events induced by reservoir depletion due to gas extraction have in the recent years occurred. Following a description of the specimen and experimental setup, the results obtained during the pseudostatic cyclic testing in the weak direction of the specimen, illustrating the response mechanism and damage evolution at progressively increased drift amplitudes, are discussed. Particularly noteworthy is the fact that the specimen collapsed by a premature failure of its three-way panel-to-panel joints, seemingly indicating that this type of connection is the weakest link of the structural system tested.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9
Fig. 10
Fig. 11
Fig. 12
Fig. 13
Fig. 14
Fig. 15
Fig. 16
Fig. 17


  1. Arup (2017) EUC-BUILD-4 prototype building description. Report n. 229746_031_NOT2008_Rev0.05_Issue, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Accessed Dec 2017

  2. Belleri A, Brunesi E, Nascimbene R, Pagani M, Riva P (2015) Seismic performance of precast industrial facilities following major earthquakes in the Italian territory. J Peform Constr Facil ASCE 29(5):04014135

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Belleri A, Torquati M, Marini A, Riva P (2016) Horizontal cladding panels: in-plane seismic performance in precast concrete buildings. Bull Earthq Eng 14(4):1103–1129

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Biondini F, Dal Lago B, Toniolo G (2013) Role of wall panel connections on the seismic performance of precast structures. Bull Earthq Eng 11(4):1061–1081

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Bommer JJ, Crowley H, Pinho R (2015) A risk-mitigation approach to the management of induced seismicity. J Seismol 19(2):623–646

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Bournas DA, Negro P, Molina FJ (2013) Pseudodynamic tests on a full-scale 3-storey precast concrete building: behavior of the mechanical connections and floor diaphragms. Eng Struct 2013(57):609–627

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Bourne SJ, Oates SJ, Bommer JJ, Dost B, van Elk J, Doornhof D (2015) A Monte Carlo method for probabilistic hazard assessment of induced seismicity due to conventional natural gas production. Bull Seismol Soc Am 105(3):1721–1738

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Brunesi E, Nascimbene R (2017) Experimental and numerical investigation of the seismic response of precast wall connections. Bull Earthq Eng 15(12):5511–5550

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Brunesi E, Nascimbene R, Bolognini D, Bellotti D (2015) Experimental investigation of the cyclic response of reinforced precast concrete framed structures. PCI J 60(2):57–79

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Brunesi E, Peloso S, Pinho R, Nascimbene R (2017a) Cyclic testing of a full-scale cast-in-place reinforced concrete wall-slab-wall structure representative of the Groningen building stock. Report EUC095/2017U, Eucentre, Pavia, Italy. Accessed Dec 2017

  11. Brunesi E, Peloso S, Pinho R, Nascimbene R (2017b) Cyclic testing of a full-scale two-storey RC precast wall-slab-wall structure representative of the Groningen building stock. Report EUC173/2017U, Eucentre, Pavia, Italy. Accessed Dec 2017

  12. Crowley H, Pinho R (2017) Report on the v5 fragility and consequence models for the Groningen Field. Pavia, Italy. Accessed Dec 2017

  13. Crowley H, Polidoro B, Pinho R, van Elk J (2017) Framework for developing fragility and consequence models for local personal risk. Earthq Spectra 33(4):1325–1345

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Kruiver PP, van Dedem E, Romijn R, de Lange G, Korff M, Stafleu J, Gunnink JL, Rodriguez-Marek A, Bommer JJ, van Elk J, Doornhof D (2017) An integrated shear-wave velocity model for the Groningen gas field, The Netherlands. Bull Earthq Eng 15(9):3555–3580

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. NAM. Assessment of Hazard, building damage and risk for induced seismicity in Groningen. Update 1st November 2017.

  16. Nederlands Normalisatie-instituut (2011) National Annex to NEN-EN 1990+A1+A1/C2: eurocode: basis of structural design. Delft, The Netherlands

  17. Priestley MJN, Sritharan SS, Conley JR, Pampanin S (1999) Preliminary results and conclusions from the PRESSS five-story precast concrete test building. PCI J 44(6):42–67

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Rodríguez M, Blandón J (2005) Tests on a half-scale two-story seismic-resisting precast concrete building. PCI J 50(1):94–114

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Sezen H, Whittaker AS (2006) Seismic performance of industrial facilities affected by the 1999 Turkey earthquake. J Perform Constr Facil ASCE 20(1):28–36

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. van Elk J, Bourne SJ, Oates SJ, Bommer JJ, Pinho R, Crowley H (2018) A probabilistic model to evaluate options for mitigating induced seismic risk. Earthq Spectra (submitted for publication)

  21. Vintzeleou EN, Tassios TP (1987) Behavior of dowels under cyclic deformations. ACI Struct J 84(1):18–30

    Google Scholar 

  22. Zoubek B, Fischinger M, Isaković T (2016) Cyclic response of hammer-head strap cladding-to-structure connections used in RC precast building. Eng Struct 119:135–148

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


This paper describes an activity that is part of the project entitled “Experimental campaign on RC buildings typical of the Groningen region”. The project, carried out at Eucentre, was undertaken within the framework of the research programme for hazard and risk of induced seismicity in Groningen sponsored by the Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij BV. The authors would like to thank all the parties involved in this project: including the experimental laboratories of Eucentre and of the Civil Engineering Department at the University of Pavia that performed the tests, together with NAM, Arup and TU Delft. We also acknowledge Jeroen Uilenreef, Filippo Dacarro and Alberto Pavese for their support and feedback in the different phases of the experimental campaign. Finally, we are grateful to Giulia Fagà for her valuable support with figure editing.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to R. Nascimbene.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Brunesi, E., Peloso, S., Pinho, R. et al. Cyclic testing of a full-scale two-storey reinforced precast concrete wall-slab-wall structure. Bull Earthquake Eng 16, 5309–5339 (2018).

Download citation


  • Cyclic testing
  • Pseudostatic testing
  • Prefabricated structure
  • Wall-slab-wall structure
  • Lightly reinforced wall
  • Wall-to-wall connection
  • Three-way connection
  • Induced seismicity