Selective Weakening and Post-Tensioning for the Seismic Retrofit of Non-Ductile RC Frames
Thesis DisciplineCivil Engineering
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
This research introduces and develops a counter-intuitive seismic retrofit strategy, referred to as “Selective Weakening” (SW), for pre-1970s reinforced concrete (RC) frames with a particular emphasis on the upgrading of exterior beam-column joints. By focusing on increasing the displacement and ductility capacities of the beam-column joints, simple retrofit interventions such as selective weakening of the beam and external post-tensioning of the joint can change the local inelastic mechanism and result in improved global lateral and energy dissipation capacities.
The thesis first presents an extensive review of the seismic vulnerability and assessment of pre-1970s RC frames. Following a review of the concepts of performance-based seismic retrofit and existing seismic retrofit solutions, a thorough conceptual development of the SW retrofit strategy and techniques is presented. A “local-to-global” design procedure for the design of SW retrofit is proposed. Based on the evaluation of the hierarchy of strength at a subassembly level, a capacity-design retrofit outcome can be achieved using various combinations of levels of beam-weakening and joint post-tensioning. Analytical tools for the assessment and design of the SW-retrofitted beam-column joints are developed and compared with the test results.
Nine 2/3-scaled exterior joint subassemblies were tested under quasi-static cyclic loading to demonstrate the feasibility and effectiveness of SW retrofit for non-ductile unreinforced beam-column connections. Parameters considered in the tests included the presence of column lap-splice, slab and transverse beams, levels of post-tensioning forces and location of beam weakening. Extensive instrumentation and a rigorous testing regime allowed for a detailed experimental insight into the seismic behaviour of these as-built and retrofitted joints. Experimental-analytical comparisons highlighted some limitations of existing seismic assessment procedures and helped in developing and validating the SW retrofit design expressions. Interesting insights into the bond behaviour of the plain-round bars, joint shear cracking and post-tensioned joints were made based on the experimental results.
To complement the experimental investigation, refined fracture-mechanic finite-element (FE) modelling of the beam-column joint subassemblies and non-linear dynamic time-history analyses of RC frames were carried out. Both the experimental and numerical results have shown the potential of SW retrofit to be a simple and structurally efficient structural rehabilitation strategy for non-ductile RC frames.