The effects of foundation size on the seismic performance of buildings considering the soil-foundation-structure interaction

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Structural Engineering and Mechanics, 2016, 58 (6), pp. 1045 - 1075
Issue Date:
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Copyright © 2016 Techno-Press, Ltd. Shallow footings are one of the most common types of foundations used to support mid-rise buildings in high risk seismic zones. Recent findings have revealed that the dynamic interaction between the soil, foundation, and the superstructure can influence the seismic response of the building during earthquakes. Accordingly, the properties of a foundation can alter the dynamic characteristics (natural frequency and damping) of the soil-foundation-structure system. In this paper the influence that shallow foundations have on the seismic response of a mid-rise moment resisting building is investigated. For this purpose, a fifteen storey moment resisting frame sitting on shallow footings with different sizes was simulated numerically using ABAQUS software. By adopting a direct calculation method, the numerical model can perform a fully nonlinear time history dynamic analysis to realistically simulate the dynamic behaviour of soil, foundation, and structure under seismic excitations. This three-dimensional numerical model accounts for the nonlinear behaviour of the soil medium and structural elements. Infinite boundary conditions were assigned to the numerical model to simulate free field boundaries, and appropriate contact elements capable of modelling sliding and separation between the foundation and soil elements are also considered. The influence of foundation size on the natural frequency of the system and structural response spectrum was also studied. The numerical results for cases of soil-foundation-structure systems with different sized foundations and fixed base conditions (excluding soil-foundation-structure interaction) in terms of lateral deformations, inter-storey drifts, rocking, and shear force distribution of the structure were then compared. Due to natural period lengthening, there was a significant reduction in the base shears when the size of the foundation was reduced. It was concluded that the size of a shallow foundation influences the dynamic characteristics and the seismic response of the building due to interaction between the soil, foundation, and structure, and therefore design engineer should carefully consider these parameters in order to ensure a safe and cost effective seismic design.
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