Cyclic testing and analysis of a full-scale cast-in-place reinforced concrete wall-slab-wall structure


The phenomena of induced seismicity have recently become of increasing interest for public/private authorities and stakeholders due to the impact that some of these low-intensity earthquakes might have on the built environment of regions that were not historically prone to hazard from natural seismicity. This has led to the deployment of experimental campaigns aimed at investigating and assessing the seismic response of existing structures in such now-seismically active regions, which were typically built without any particular seismic design and/or detailing criteria. A pseudostatic cyclic test on a full-scale one-storey two-bay cast-in-place reinforced concrete (RC) wall-slab-wall structure, representative of a building typology that is a very common form of housing in the Netherlands, was thus carried out. The test specimen was designed according to Dutch building practice and tried to combine several common characteristics as well as customary detailing of multi-unit cast-in-place RC terraced houses, which, together with precast ones, constitute the vast majority of the Groningen RC building stock. The present paper describes the main features of the building mock-up and discusses the foremost results obtained by the testing, which was performed in a bi-directional fashion and was therefore meant to address several open questions regarding the seismic behaviour/performance of this specific structural typology in both longitudinal/weak and transverse/strong directions. Hysteretic response curves of the specimen and key parts of it are provided, along with a discussion of the building damage evolution during the phases of testing, showing how rocking of walls around their base was the dominating response mechanism for both directions of loading. Issues of strength degradation and energy dissipation were also addressed, illustrating the main trends observed with the changing of imposed drift level as well as with the number of applied cycles for a given drift amplitude. Finally, a simple yet reliable fibre-based finite element model was developed, with a view to allow the readily assessment of the seismic response of structures of this type; feasibility and limitations of such numerical model were evaluated through comparison with the obtained test data.

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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.

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Correspondence to R. Nascimbene.

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Brunesi, E., Peloso, S., Pinho, R. et al. Cyclic testing and analysis of a full-scale cast-in-place reinforced concrete wall-slab-wall structure. Bull Earthquake Eng 16, 4761–4796 (2018).

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  • Cyclic testing
  • Pseudostatic testing
  • Cast-in-place structure
  • Wall-slab-wall structure
  • Tunnel construction
  • Lightly reinforced wall
  • Induced seismicity
  • Fibre modelling