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Modified Gutenberg–Richter Coefficient for Damage Evaluation in Reinforced Concrete Structures Subjected to Seismic Simulations on a Shaking Table


This paper presents analysis and discussion of the \(b\)- and ib-values calculated from the acoustic emission (AE) signals recorded during dynamic shake-table tests conducted on a reinforced concrete (RC) frame subjected to several uniaxial seismic simulations of increasing intensity until collapse. The intensity of shaking was controlled by the peak acceleration applied to the shake-table in each seismic simulation, and it ranged from 0.08 to 0.47 times the acceleration of gravity. The numerous spurious signals not related to concrete damage that inevitably contaminate AE measurements obtained from complex dynamic shake-table tests were properly filtered with an RMS filter and the use of guard sensors. Comparing the \(b\)- and ib-values calculated through the tests with the actual level of macro-cracking and damage observed during testing, it was concluded that the limit value of 0.05 proposed in previous research to determine the onset of macro-cracks should be revised in the case of earthquake-type dynamic loading. Finally, the \(b\)- and ib-values were compared with the damage endured by the RC frame evaluated both visually and quantitatively in terms of the inter-story drift index.

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This research received financial support from the local government of Spain, Consejería de Innovación, Ciencia y Tecnología, Project P07-TEP-02610, from the FPU Program of the Education, Culture and Sports Ministry of Spain, and from the European Union (Fonds Européen de Dévelopment Régional).

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Correspondence to Antolino Gallego.

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Sagasta, F., Benavent-Climent, A., Fernández-Quirante, T. et al. Modified Gutenberg–Richter Coefficient for Damage Evaluation in Reinforced Concrete Structures Subjected to Seismic Simulations on a Shaking Table. J Nondestruct Eval 33, 616–631 (2014).

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  • Acoustic emission
  • Structural health monitoring
  • Reinforced concrete
  • Earthquakes
  • \(b\)-Value