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Seismic response analysis of a 13-story steel moment-framed building in Alhambra, California

January 1, 1994

The seismic performance of steel moment-framed buildings has been of particular interest since brittle fractures were discovered at the beam-column connections of some frames following the M6.7 1994 Northridge earthquake. This report presents an investigation of the seismic behavior of an instrumented 13-story steel moment frame building located in the greater Los Angeles area of California. An extensive strong motion dataset, ambient vibration data, engineering drawings and earthquake damage reports are available for this building. The data are described and subsequently analyzed.

The results of the analyses show that the building response is more complex than would be expected from its highly symmetrical geometry. The building's response is characterized by low damping in the fundamental mode, larger peak accelerations in the intermediate stories than at the roof, extended periods of vibration after the cessation of strong input shaking, beating in the response, and significant torsion during strong shaking at the top of the concrete piers which extend from the basement to the second floor. The analyses of the data and all damage detection methods employed except one method based on system identification indicate that the response of the structure was elastic in all recorded earthquakes. These findings are in general agreement with the results of intrusive inspections (meaning fireproofing and architectural finishes were removed) conducted on approximately 5 percent of the moment connections following the Northridge earthquake, which found no earthquake damage.

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