Ductility demands on buckling-restrained braced frames under earthquake loading

Larry A. Fahnestock, Richard Sause, James M. Ricles, Le Wu Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Accurate estimates of ductility demands on buckling-restrained braced frames (BRBFs) are crucial to performance-based design of BRBFs. An analytical study on the seismic behavior of BRBFs has been conducted at the ATLSS Center, Lehigh University to prepare for an upcoming experimental program. The analysis program DRAIN-2DX was used to model a one-bay, four-story prototype BRBF including material and geometric nonlinearities, The buckling-restrained brace (BRB) model incorporates both isotropic and kinematic hardening. Nonlinear static pushover and time-history analyses were performed on the prototype BRBF. Performance objectives for the BRBs were defined and used to evaluate the time-history analysis results. Particular emphasis was placed on global ductility demands and ductility demands on the BRBs. These demands were compared with anticipated ductility capacities. The analysis results, along with results from similar previous studies, are used to evaluate the BRBF design provisions that have been recommended for codification in the United States. The results show that BRB maximum ductility demands can be as high as 20 to 25. These demands significantly exceed those anticipated by the BRBF recommended provisions. Results from the static pushover and time-history analyses are used to demonstrate why the ductility demands exceed those anticipated by the recommended provisions. The BRB qualification testing protocol contained in the BRBF recommended provisions is shown to be inadequate because it requires only a maximum ductility demand of at most 7.5. Modifications to the testing protocol are recommended.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-268
Number of pages14
JournalEarthquake Engineering and Engineering Vibration
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Buckling-restrained braced frames
  • Buckling-restrained braces
  • Buildings
  • Seismic codes and standards
  • Seismic response ductility demand
  • Structural response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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