Rocking response of seismically-isolated rigid blocks under simple acceleration pulses and earthquake excitations
AuthorRoussis, Panayiotis C.
SourceOpen Construction and Building Technology Journal
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Background: Although the dynamic response of rigid block-like structures standing free on a rigid foundation has been extensively studied to date, only a limited number of studies have focused on the dynamics of such systems when seismically isolated. Objective: This paper presents a comprehensive investigation on the dynamic response of base-isolated rigid blocks subjected to pulse-type base excitation, with the aim of identifying potential trends in the response and stability of the system. Method: The model adopted in this study consists of a rectangular-prismatic rigid block standing free on a seismically-isolated base, which, on the assumption of sufficiently-large friction, can be set into rocking on top of the moving base under dynamic excitation. The study examines in depth the motion of the block/base system with a large-displacement formulation that combines the nonlinear equations of motion with a rigorous model governing impact. Two isolation-system models are utilized in the analysis, a linear viscoelastic model and a bilinear hysteretic model. Results: An extensive numerical investigation was performed to calculate the rocking response of the block under simple acceleration pulses and recorded pulse-type earthquake motions of various amplitudes and frequency content. Response-regime spectra for non-isolated and isolated blocks of varying geometric characteristics have been constructed to evaluate the system performance with respect to the rocking initiation and overturning of the block. Conclusion: The study showed that, regardless of block size and excitation period, seismic isolation increases the acceleration required to initiate rocking, a benefit that increases as the isolation period increases. In regard to the stability of the rocking block, the use of isolation yields a better system performance for smaller-sized blocks both for short- and mid-period excitations, provided that the isolation system is suitably designed. On the contrary, for long-period pulses, the use of isolation is practically not beneficial in improving the stability of the rocking block, irrespective of its size. © 2017 Roussis and Odysseos.