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Abstract

Recent earthquake events throughout the world have once again exposed the vulnerability of buildings with respect to earthquakes. It is unlikely and unsustainable to design and - especially in regions with low-to-moderate seismic hazard – to retrofit all buildings to remain within elastic displacement ranges during earthquakes with high return periods. Therefore, post-earthquake assessment plays a fundamental role in the resilience of cities, given the potential to reduce time between an earthquake event and the clearance for (renewed) occupancy of a building. In this paper, a framework for model-based data interpretation of measurements of earthquake-damaged structures is presented. The framework allows engineers to combine ambient-vibration measurements and visual inspection to reduce parametric uncertainty of a high-fidelity model using the error-domain model-falsification methodology. For building types that have limited stiffness contributions from non-structural elements (i.e. shear-wall buildings) and for which non-ductile failure modes (such as out-of-plane failure) can be excluded, reduction in natural frequency and damage grades derived from visual inspection provide global measurement sources for structural identification. The application of the proposed methodology to a shear-resisting building tested on a shake table illustrates that vulnerability-curve predictions provide accurate damage estimates for subsequent earthquakes with probabilities between 50% and 100% for five measured scenarios. In complete absence of baseline information regarding the initial building state and the earthquake signal, parametric uncertainty is reduced by up to 76%. This study thus demonstrates usefulness for certain building types to enhance post-seismic vulnerability predictions.

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