The role of ground motion duration and pulse effects in the collapse of ductile systems

Maria Liapopoulou, Miguel A. Bravo-Haro, Ahmed Y. Elghazouli

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


The seismic collapse capacity of ductile single-degree-of-freedom systems vulnerable to P-Δ effects is investigated by examining the respective influence of ground motion duration and acceleration pulses. The main objective is to provide simple relationships for predicting the duration-dependent collapse capacity of modern ductile systems. A novel procedure is proposed for modifying spectrally equivalent records, such that they are also equivalent in terms of pulses. The effect of duration is firstly assessed, without accounting for pulses, by assembling 101 pairs of long and short records with equivalent spectral response. The systems considered exhibit a trilinear backbone curve with an elastic, hardening and negative stiffness segment. The parameters investigated include the period, negative stiffness slope, ductility and strain hardening, for both bilinear and pinching hysteretic models. Incremental dynamic analysis is employed to determine collapse capacities and derive design collapse capacity spectra. It is shown that up to 60% reduction in collapse capacity can occur due to duration effects for flexible bilinear systems subjected to low levels of P-Δ. A comparative evaluation of intensity measures that account for spectral shape, duration or pulses, is also presented. The influence of pulses, quantified through incremental velocity, is then explicitly considered to modify the long records, such that their pulse distribution matches that of their short spectrally equivalent counterparts. The results show the need to account for pulse effects in order to achieve unbiased estimation of the role of duration in flexible ductile systems, as it can influence the duration-induced reduction in collapse capacity by more than 20%.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1051-1071
Number of pages21
JournalEarthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2020


  • collapse capacity
  • ground motion duration
  • hysteretic behaviour
  • incremental velocity
  • intensity measures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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