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Course schedule

Note: For 6 week accelerated courses, content will be released at a pace of 2 sessions per week. For 12 week courses, the pace will be 1 session per week.

Session 1: Course Introduction

Understand why seismic design is important, and provide insights into the underlying principles of seismic hazards analysis, structural dynamics, and inelastic behavior. Learn how these items are integrated into our building code requirements.

  • Motivation
  • Overview of basic principles
  • How the principles fit into the basic analysis/design philosophy
  • How the basic philosophy is incorporated into building codes

Session 2: Lessons Learned from Previous Earthquakes

Understand how lessons learned from previous earthquakes drive the development of good practices in building codes and building construction.  Observe through statistics from past earthquakes how the use of modern code concepts reduces costs, downtime, and casualties.

  • Past earthquakes and associated damage and casualties
  • Compare/contrast Haiti and Chile (2010)
  • Recent U.S. earthquakes
    • Loma Prieta (site effects)
    • Northridge (steel buildings)
    • Virginia (CEUS vulnerability)
  • Not-so-recent U.S. Earthquakes
    • New Madrid
    • Charleston
  • What to expect from “the Big One”

Session 3: Ground Motions and Their Effects

Understand how geological processes generate earthquakes, and investigate the best ways to mitigate the various hazards that results from earthquakes.  Learn how the effects of ground shaking are quantified.  

  • Plate tectonics
  • Fault mechanisms
  • Seismic waves
  • Hazards and hazard mitigation strategy
  • Quantification of ground motion effects

Session 4: Structural Dynamics  

Understand how the effects of ground shaking are amplified by structural vibration. Learn the concepts of resonance, frequency/period of vibration, and damping.  Understand how a response spectrum is used to characterize ground shaking and how the use of such a spectrum can simplify seismic load analysis.

  • SDOF equations of motion
  • Free vibration (period of vibration, damping ratio)
  • Harmonic loading (resonance)
  • General loading and effective earthquake forces
  • Development of elastic response spectrum
  • Elastic design response spectra
  • MDOF systems and modal properties

Session 5: Seismic Hazard Analysis

Understand the procedures used to estimate the expected intensity of ground shaking at a given site.  Learn how the seismic hazard maps generated by the USGS are integrated into building codes.  Use the USGS Ground Motion Tool to obtain ground shaking parameters.

  • Concepts of risk and hazard
  • Deterministic and probabilistic approaches
  • USGS Seismic Hazard maps
  • ASCE-7 Seismic Hazard maps
  • The USGS Ground Motion Tool

Session 6: Inelastic Behavior

Understand why inelastic response is necessary in seismic design, and how building codes use the “equal displacement concept” to accommodate inelastic behavior without the need for advanced nonlinear analysis procedures. Learn how building codes and materials standards control the inelastic behavior by imposing strict detailing requirements and deformation limits. Observe how laboratory experiments are used to improve the inelastic behavior of structures.  

  • Why inelastic behavior is important
  • Sources of inelastic behavior
  • Importance of ductility 
  • The equal displacement concept
  • Inelastic design response spectra
  • Use of laboratory experiments to understand and control inelastic behavior

Session 7: ASCE-7 Overview

Learn the process under which ASCE-7 is developed, and how ASCE-7 and its predecessor codes and standards have evolved over the years. Understand how the code development process works by observing discussion from an actual ASCE-7 Seismic Subcommittee Meeting.

  • History (NBS, UBC, NEHRP)
  • Philosophy
  • Organization
  • Code development process
  • Relationship with other building codes

Session 8: Structural Systems and Detailing Requirements I

Understand how materials specifications such as the AISC Seismic Provisions are tied to the ASCE-7 seismic load requirements.  Learn some of the specific detailing requirements by reviewing pertinent sections in the material standards.   

  • Structural steel
  • Moment frames
  • Eccentrically braced frames
  • Concentrically braced frames
  • Buckling restrained braced frames
  • Steel plate shearwalls

Session 9: Structural Systems and Detailing Requirements II

Understand how materials specifications such as provided by ACI, the Masonry Society, and the American Wood Council Provisions are tied to the ASCE-7 seismic load requirements.  Learn some of the specific detailing requirements by reviewing pertinent sections in the material standards.  Understand how new systems are introduced into ASCE-7.

  • Reinforced concrete
  • Bearing wall systems
  • Cantilever systems
  • Other systems
  • Development of Performance Factors for New Systems (FEMA P-695)

Session 10: Avoiding Problems

Learn how configuration irregularities, excessive torsional response, and lack of redundancy can have severe consequences on the seismic performance of building structures.  Understand how ASCE-7 effectively “penalizes” systems that have undesirable configuration issues, and “awards” systems that do not have such irregularities.  

  • Configuration irregularities
    • Horizontal
    • Vertical
  • Torsional behavior
  • Lack of redundancy
  • Consequences observed in actual earthquakes

Session 11: Seismic Load Analysis

Learn the various methods of structural analysis that are provided by ASCE-7, the advantages and disadvantages of the methods, and the limitations on use.    

  • Equivalent lateral force method
  • Modal response spectrum method
  • Other methods
  • Evaluation of results of analysis

Session 12: Structural Analysis and Modeling Issues

Learn the requirements, limitations, advantages, and disadvantages of the various analysis methods typically used in seismic design of structures.  Observe, through use of commercial software, how certain features are accommodated in the analysis.  

  • Effective seismic weight
  • 2D vs 3D models
  • Diaphragm rigidity
  • Section properties

This course outline is subject to change.