Journal article

Modelling approaches for inelastic behaviour of RC walls: Multi-level assessment and dependability of results

The severe damage and collapse of many reinforced concrete (RC) wall buildings in the recent earthquakes of Chile (2010) and New Zealand (2011) have shown that RC walls did not perform as well as required by the modern codes of both countries. It seems therefore appropriate to intensify research efforts towards more accurate simulations of damage indicators, in particular local engineering demand parameters such as material strains, which are central to the application of performance-based earthquake engineering. Potential modelling improvements will necessarily build on a thorough assessment of the limitations of current state-of-the-practice simulation approaches for RC wall buildings. This work compares different response parameters obtained from monotonic analyses of RC walls using numerical tools that are commonly employed by researchers and specialized practitioners, namely: plastic hinge analyses, distributed plasticity models, and shell element models. It is shown that a multi-level assessment—wherein both the global and local levels of the response are jointly addressed during pre- and post-peak response—is fundamental to define the dependability of the results. The displacement demand up to which the wall response can be predicted is defined as the first occurrence between the attainment of material strain limits and numerical issues such as localization. The present work also presents evidence to discourage the application of performance-based assessment of RC walls relying on non-regularized strain EDPs.

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