Structures are subjected, during their lifespan, to a variety of loadings from different origins and intensity. Whilst some can induce a plain linear elastic response of just a few members, others will produce a nonlinear inelastic behaviour involving complex interactions throughout the entire structure. Moderate to severe ground shaking, which eventually affects numerous buildings in earthquake-prone areas, is one of such loadings. The goal of the course is to describe the state-of-the-practice computational models and approaches for simulating the seismic response of structures and, through it, cater also for an insightful understanding of the latter.
In particular, nonlinear static and dynamic methods of structural analysis prescribed in design codes and existing literature will be presented. Their dependable use requires a thorough understanding of physical phenomena and models that range from soil-structure interaction to material and geometrical nonlinear member effects, which will be covered during the course. Whenever possible, the more complex theoretical framework will be interpreted resorting to intuitive engineering judgment, enabling a more straightforward application and understanding of the models. The latter will be explored and verified with specialized software of nonlinear analysis, so as to attain a desired sensitivity to both the input parameters and numerical output, as well as an attitude of critical scrutiny towards the assumed modelling hypotheses.
The course participants will exercise and assimilate the concepts through a series of short narrow-focus assignments, combined with an all-encompassing group project of a reinforced concrete structure that will extend for most of the course duration.