Skip to main content

Numerical Evaluation of the Steel Plate Energy Absorption Device (SPEAD) for Seismic Strengthening of RC Frame Structures


In this paper, a new strengthening technique is proposed: the Steel Plate Energy Absorption Device (SPEAD) system, which is intended to increase the flexural strength of beam and column members in RC frame structures. In this way, while permitting calibration of the strength increase in the beam to comply with the strength hierarchy criteria needed for a proper seismic behaviour it can provide additional energy absorption. A numerical evaluation of the SPEAD system is carried out by means of a refined 3D model built with an advanced nonlinear finite element program. The SPEAD system has been virtually applied (through finite element analyses) to an RC external beam–column joint, representative of typical existing RC buildings, and the numerical results are compared to those of a specimen that was not upgraded and subjected to the same experimental tests. The SPEAD upgraded model provided a strength increment of about 50% with also a strong reduction of bond-slip effects in the joint panel region. This latter, in turn, provided a beneficial increase of ductility. Based on the positive results from numerical simulations, a design method is also provided.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

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. 1.

    Rossetto T, Peiris N, Alarcon JE, So E, Sargeant S, Free M, Sword-Daniels V, Del Re D, Libberton C, Verrucci E et al (2011) Field observations from the Aquila, Italy Earthquake of April 6, 2009. Bull Earthq Eng 9:11–37.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Masi A, Chiauzzi L, Santarsiero G, Manfredi V, Biondi S, Spacone E, Del Gaudio C, Ricci P, Manfredi G, Verderame GM (2018) Seismic response of RC buildings during the Mw 6.0 August 24, 2016 Central Italy earthquake: the Amatrice case study. Bull Earthq Eng 17:5631–5654.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Loporcaro G, Cuevas A, Pampanin S, Kral MV (2018) Monotonic and low-cycle fatigue properties of earthquake-damaged New Zealand steel reinforcing bars. The experience after the Christchurch 2010/2011 earthquakes. Procedia Struct Integr 11:194–201.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Gould PL, GoodnoBJ Gould NC, Caldwell P (2011) Behavior of engineer constructed facilities in the Haitian Earthquake of January 12, 2010. Procedia Eng 14:23–31.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Frascadore R, Di Ludovico M, Prota A, Verderame GM, Manfredi G, Dolce M, Cosenza E (2015) Local strengthening of reinforced concrete structures as a strategy for seismic risk mitigation at regional scale. Earthq Spectra 31(2):1083–1102.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Di Ludovico M, Digrisolo A, Moroni C, Graziotti F, Manfredi V, Prota A, Dolce M, Manfredi G (2019) Remarks on damage and response of school buildings after the Central Italy earthquake sequence. Bull Earthq Eng 17:5679.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Manfredi V, Masi A (2017) Seismic strengthening and energy efficiency: towards an integrated approach for the rehabilitation of existing RC buildings. Buildings 8(3):36.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Santarsiero G, Masi A (2015) Seismic performance of RC beam–column joints retrofitted with steel dissipation jackets. Eng Struct 85:95–106.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Kazem Sharbatdar M, Kheyroddin A, Emami E (2012) Cyclic performance of retrofitted reinforced concrete beam–column joints using steel prop. Constr Build Mater 36:287–294.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Realfonzo R, Napoli A, Ruiz Pinilla JG (2014) Cyclic behavior of RC beam–column joints strengthened with FRP Systems. Constr Build Mater 54:282–297.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Sasmal S, Ramanjaneyulu K, Novák B, Srinivas V, Saravana Kumar K, Korkowski C, Roehm C, Lakshmanan N, Iyer NR (2011) Seismic retrofitting of nonductile beam–column sub-assemblage using FRP wrapping and steel plate jacketing. Constr Build Mater 25:175–182.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Singh V, Bansal PP, Kumar M, Kaushik SK (2014) Experimental studies on strength and ductility of CFRP jacketed reinforced concrete beam–column joints. Constr Build Mater 55:194–201.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Attari N, Youcef YS, Amziane S (2019) Seismic performance of reinforced concrete beam–column joint strengthening by FRP sheets. Structures 20:353–364.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Wang GL, Dai JG, Bai YL (2019) Seismic retrofit of exterior RC beam–column joints with bonded CFRP reinforcement: an experimental study. Compos Struct 224:111018.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Santarsiero G (2018) FE modelling of the seismic behavior of wide beam–column joints strengthened with CFRP systems. Buildings 8(2):31.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Del Vecchio C, Di Ludovico M, Prota A, Manfredi G (2016) Modelling beam–column joints and FRP strengthening in the seismic performance assessment of RC existing frames. Compos Struct 142:107–116.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Wang X, Zhou C, Ai J, Petrů M, Liu Y (2020) Numerical investigation for the fatigue performance of reinforced concrete beams strengthened with external prestressed HFRP sheet. Constr Build Mater 237:117601.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Zhu Y, Zhang Y, Hussein HH, Chen G (2019) Numerical modeling for damaged reinforced concrete slab strengthened by ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) layer. Eng Struct.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Masi A, Santarsiero G (2013) Seismic tests on RC building exterior joints with wide beams. Adv Mater Res 787:771–777.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Masi A, Santarsiero G, Nigro D (2013) Cyclic tests on external RC beam–column joints: role of seismic design level and axial load value on the ultimate capacity. J Earthq Eng 17(1):110–136.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Ordinance of the President of the Council of Ministers (OPCM) 20 March 2003, n.3274, “Primi elementi in materia di criteri generali per la classificazione sismica del territorio nazionale e di normative tecniche per le costruzioni in zona sismica”. Official Journal, General serie n.105, 08-05-2003 – Ordinary Supplement n. 72 (in Italian).

  22. 22.

    CEN (2005) EN 1998-3:2005 Eurocode 8: design of structures for earthquake resistance—part 3: assessment and retrofitting of buildings

  23. 23.

    MinistryDecree 17 gennaio 2018, “Aggiornamento delle « Norme tecniche per le costruzioni»”, Official Journal, General serie n.42, 20-02-2018—Ordinary Supplement n. 8 (in Italian).

  24. 24.

    CEN (2004). EN 1998-1:2004 Eurocode 2—design of concrete structures—part 1: general rules and rules for buildings

  25. 25.

    Cervenka Consulting (2000–2014) ATENA program documentation, part 1, ATENA Theory Manual

  26. 26.

    Hordijk DA (1991) Local approach to fatigue of concrete. Dissertation, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands, ISBN:90/9004519-8

  27. 27.

    MC10 (2010) CEB-FIP Model Code 2010. Comité Euro-International duBéton

  28. 28.

    MC90 (1993) CEB-FIP Model Code 1990. Comité Euro-International duBéton

  29. 29.

    Jendele L, Cervenka J (2006) Finite element modeling of reinforcement with bond. Comput Struct 84(28):1780–1791.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. 30.

    Masi A, Santarsiero G, Lignola GP, Verderame GM (2013) Study of the seismic behaviour of external RC beam–column joints through experimental tests and numerical simulations. Eng Struct 52:207–219.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. 31.

    Campione G (2015) Analytical prediction of load deflection curves of external steel fibers R/C beam–column joints under monotonic loading. Eng Struct 83:86–98.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. 32.

    Ronagh HR, Baji H (2014) On the FE modeling of FRP-retrofitted beam–column subassemblies. Int J Concr Struct Mater 8:141–155.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


The work reported in this paper was partly carried out within the framework of the DPC-ReLUIS 2019-21 Project, Work Package 5 “Rapid, low impacting and integrated upgrading interventions”.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Giuseppe Santarsiero.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of Interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Santarsiero, G., Manfredi, V. & Masi, A. Numerical Evaluation of the Steel Plate Energy Absorption Device (SPEAD) for Seismic Strengthening of RC Frame Structures. Int J Civ Eng 18, 835–850 (2020).

Download citation


  • Reinforced concrete
  • Beam–column joint
  • Seismic upgrading
  • Energy absorption
  • Finite element analysis