Assessment of the seismic capacity of tall wall buildings using nonlinear finite element modeling

David Ugalde, Pablo F. Parra, Diego Lopez-Garcia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Two existing RC shear wall buildings of 17 and 26 stories were analyzed using fully nonlinear finite element models, i.e., models that include nonlinear material behavior and geometric nonlinearities. The buildings are located in Santiago, Chile and are representative of Chilean residential buildings in the sense that they have a large number of shear walls. The buildings withstood undamaged the 2010 Chile earthquake even though they were subjected to demands much larger than the code-specified demand. The approach to model the RC shear walls was validated through comparisons with results experimentally obtained from cyclic static tests conducted on isolated wall specimens. Several pushover analyses were performed to assess the global response of the buildings under seismic actions and to evaluate the influence of several modeling issues. Response history analyses were performed considering a ground motion recorded in Santiago during the 2010 Chile earthquake. In general, results (in terms of both global and local response quantities) are consistent with results given by pushover analysis and with the empirically observed lack of damage, a consistency that was not found in a previous study that considered linearly elastic models. The tangential inter-story drift deformation was found to correlate much better with the lack of observable damage than the total inter-story drift deformation typically considered in practice. The analysis also revealed that foundation uplift is possible but does not seem to significantly influence the response. Other modeling issues that were found to deserve further research are the shear stiffness of the walls and the influence of the slabs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6565-6589
Number of pages25
JournalBulletin of Earthquake Engineering
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019


  • 2010 Chile earthquake
  • Seismic response
  • Shear wall buildings
  • Shear wall models
  • Shear walls


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