Articles | Volume 10, issue 9
01 Sep 2010
 | 01 Sep 2010

Parametric studies and quantitative assessment of the vulnerability of a RC frame building exposed to differential settlements

C. Negulescu and E. Foerster

Abstract. The aim of this paper is to propose a simplified methodology to evaluate the mechanical performances of buildings exposed to landslide hazard, by using procedures inspired from the seismic risk analysis, such as the Capacity Spectrum Method (ATC 40, 1996). Landslide hazard involves so many aspects, that quantitative vulnerability assessment requires to consider one basic scenario at a time, i.e. one typology for the landslide hazard and one for the structural element considered. In this paper, we propose to assess vulnerability for simple one bay-one storey reinforced concrete (RC) frame structures subjected to differential settlements, using 2-D parametric nonlinear static time-history analyses. After a short review of methods used in practice to estimate building deformations induced by ground movements (e.g. differential settlements), we present the parametric studies carried out to identify the most relevant parameters, in order to predict the structural damage, as well as the methodology to develop analytical fragility curves, that can be used to quantitatively evaluate the structural vulnerability in landslide risk analyses. Different types of parameters that could influence structural behaviour have been examined in this analysis: foundation type (i.e. different combinations of links), cross-section geometry, section reinforcement degree, displacement magnitudes and displacement inclination angles. We show that the magnitude and inclination angle of displacements can be used as two relevant parameters for this type of landslide scenario. Based on these results, some simulations are conducted using the software SeismoStruct (SeismoSoft, 2003), and the proposed structural damage levels consider the local strain limits of steel and concrete constitutive materials. Some preliminary fragility curves are proposed with respect to the magnitude of differential ground displacement. It can be seen that the curves corresponding to limit states LS2 (moderate damage) and LS4 (complete damage) in the present study, correspond respectively to the "tolerable settlements" "observed intolerable settlements" curves proposed by Zhang and Ng (2005).