Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering


Civil and Environmental Engineering




Progressive collapse occurs when damage from a localized first failure spreads in a domino effect manner resulting in a total damage disproportionate to the initial failure. Recent building failures (e.g., World Trade Center twin towers) highlight the catastrophic outcome of progressive collapse. This research proposes a reliable and realistic retrofit technology which installs thin steel panels into steel building structural frames to enhance the system progressive collapse resistance.

The steel frames with simple beam-to-column connections, under different boundary conditions (i.e., sidesway uninhibited and sidesway inhibited, respectively), and the loss of one bottom story column were retrofitted using the proposed technology (i.e. installing thin steel panels in the structural frames). Performance of these frames was investigated. Two Finite Element (FE) models which require different modeling efforts were developed to capture the system behavior. The first model explicitly models the infill plates to capture the plate buckling behavior. The second model known as strip model represents the infill panels as diagonal strips. In addition to the FE models, a plastic analysis model derived from the prior research on seismically designed Steel Plate Shear Walls (SPSWs) was considered. The system progressive collapse resistance obtained from the two FE models and the plastic analysis procedure were compared and good agreements were observed. It was observed that installing infill plates to steel structural frames can be an effective approach for enhancing the system progressive collapse resistance.

Beyond the strength of the overall system, the Dynamic Increase Factor (DIF) which may be used to amplify the static force on the system to better capture the dynamic nature of progressive collapse demand was evaluated for the retrofitted system. Furthermore, the demands including axial force, shear force and bending moment on individual frame components (i.e., beams and columns) in the retrofitted system were quantified via the nonlinear FE models and a simplified procedure based on free body diagrams (FBDs). Finally, the impact of premature beam-to-column connection failures on the system performance was investigated and it was observed that the retrofitted system is able to provide stable resistance even when connection failures occur in all beams.