Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering


Civil and Environmental Engineering


Bing Qu, Ph.D.


During seismic events, inefficient steel moment frame building systems may exhibit soft-story failures. This thesis focuses on development and validation of a seismic retrofit strategy for avoiding soft-story failures in low-rise and mid-rise steel moment frame buildings. The considered retrofit strategy consists of a sufficiently stiff Rocking Core (RC) pinned to the foundation and pin connected to the existing frame. For demonstration purposes, two representative benchmark steel moment frames, which are modified from the three- and nine-story pre-Northridge steel moment frames designed for Los Angeles in the SAC Steel Project, are considered. Finite Element (FE) models of the benchmark buildings are developed with consideration of member yielding, connection rupture, and P-Delta effect, and validated using published results. Eigenvalue analyses are conducted to investigate the effect of the RC on system modal properties. It is found that in general the added RC with practical stiffness value does not significantly change the fundamental period and therefore does not attract excessive earthquake force to the system. In addition, nonlinear static pushover analyses are performed to address the beneficial contribution of the RC to the system under the performance objectives including immediate occupancy, life safety, and collapse prevention. The Monte-Carlo simulation technique is used to generate the random lateral force distribution required in the nonlinear static pushover analysis. It is found that RC works as expected in all considered scenarios and creates more uniform inter-story distribution along the vertical direction when it is sufficiently stiff. Furthermore, nonlinear dynamic analyses are conducted using three different ground motion suites (including two suites with ground motions having probabilities of exceedance of 2% and 10% in 50 years, and one suite with near-fault ground motions). It is shown that the systems with properly selected RC can achieve the Best Safety Objective defined in FEMA 356 and exhibit collapse prevention performance under near-fault earthquakes.