Due to their excellent seismic behavior, shear wall-type concrete buildings are very popular in earthquake-prone countries like Chile. According to current seismic regulations, the performance of such structures can be indifferently assessed through linear or non-linear methods of analysis. Although all the code-compliant approaches supposedly lead to a safe design, linear approaches may be in fact less precise for catching the actual seismic performance of ductile and dissipative structures, which can even result in unconservative design where comparatively stiff buildings like reinforced-concrete shear-wall (RC-SW) buildings are concerned. By referring to a mid-rise multistory RC-SW building built in Chile and designed according to the current seismic Chilean code, the paper investigates the effectiveness of the linear dynamic analyses to predict the seismic performance of such kind of structures. The findings show that the code-compliant linear approaches (Modal Response Spectrum Analysis and Linear Time-History Analysis) may significantly underestimate the displacement demand in RC-SW buildings. This is highlighted by the comparison with the results obtained from the Non-Linear Time-History Analysis, which is expected to give more realistic results. A set of ten spectrum-consistent Chilean earthquakes was considered to carry out the time-history analyses while a distributed-plasticity fiber-based approach was adopted to model the non-linear behavior of the considered building. The paper highlights how the risk of an unsafe design may become higher when reference is made to the Chilean code, the latter considering only the Modal Response Spectrum Analysis (MRSA) without even providing corrective factors to estimate the inelastic displacement demand. The paper checks the effectiveness of some amplifying factors taken from the literature with reference to the case-study shear-wall building, concluding that they are not effective enough. The paper also warns against the danger of local soft-story collapse mechanisms, which are typical of reinforced concrete frames but may also affect RC-SW buildings when weaker structural parts made by column-like walls are present at the ground floor.
- effectiveness of seismic linear analysis
- non-linear dynamic analysis
- performance-based design
- reinforced-concrete shear walls