Assessment of buckling-restrained braced frame reliability using an experimental limit-state model and stochastic dynamic analysis

Blake M. Andrews, Junho Song, Larry A. Fahnestock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Buckling-restrained braces (BRBs) have recently become popular in the United States for use as primary members of seismic lateral-force-resisting systems. A BRB is a steel brace that does not buckle in compression but instead yields in both tension and compression. Although design guidelines for BRB applications have been developed, systematic procedures for assessing performance and quantifying reliability are still needed. This paper presents an analytical framework for assessing buckling-restrained braced frame (BRBF) reliability when subjected to seismic loads. This framework efficiently quantifies the risk of BRB failure due to low-cycle fatigue fracture of the BRB core. The procedure includes a series of components that: (1) quantify BRB demand in terms of BRB core deformation histories generated through stochastic dynamic analyses; (2) quantify the limit-state of a BRB in terms of its remaining cumulative plastic ductility capacity based on an experimental database; and (3) evaluate the probability of BRB failure, given the quantified demand and capacity, through structural reliability analyses. Parametric studies were conducted to investigate the effects of the seismic load, and characteristics of the BRB and BRBF on the probability of brace failure. In addition, fragility curves (i.e., conditional probabilities of brace failure given ground shaking intensity parameters) were created by the proposed framework. While the framework presented in this paper is applied to the assessment of BRBFs, the modular nature of the framework components allows for application to other structural components and systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-385
Number of pages13
JournalEarthquake Engineering and Engineering Vibration
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2009


  • Buckling-restrained brace
  • Cumulative plastic ductility capacity
  • First-order reliability method
  • Risk and reliability analysis
  • Stochastic dynamic analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Mechanical Engineering

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