Web-Based Interactive Tools for Performance-Based Earthquake Engineering

By Nasser Al-Shawwa and Dimitrios Lignos


Recent advancements in the evaluation of frame structures subjected to earthquake loading have focused on Performance-Based Earthquake Engineering (PBEE). This methodology necessitates the use of reliable computer simulation models that are able to predict the nonlinear behavior of structural components as part of a frame structure during an earthquake. These models need to be supported with large sets of experimental data to reliably compute the hysteretic response of various structural components subjected to cyclic loading. More recently, to facilitate earthquake loss estimation of frame structures, fragility curves of various structural and non-structural components need to be developed that express the probability of reaching or exceeding a pre-described damage state given an engineering demand parameter, such as story drift ratio and/or peak absolute floor acceleration.

Web-Based Interactive Tools for PBEE

Steel W-Shaped Database

A series of web-based tools has been developed to facilitate the previous needs in the context of PBEE. The first web module is a structural component database that provides information for over 300 cyclic and monotonic experiments of steel beam-to-column connections that were tested worldwide since the 1970s. In particular, the database includes the following information:

  • Complete reference of the experimental report including links for further information
  • Connection geometry
  • Test configuration
  • Material properties
  • Boundary conditions
  • Digitized load deformation/deduced moment rotation /panel zone shear distortion (if available)

Backbone Curve Plotter for Steel Components

The second web-based tool is an interactive menu that constructs a backbone curve for a steel beam with Reduced-Beam-Section (RBS) and a beam with non-RBS. The backbone curve is based on multivariate regression equations developed by Lignos and Krawinkler (2011) . These modeling criteria have been adopted by ATC-72 guidelines for modeling of steel components subjected to cyclic loading.

Fragility Curve Plotter for Steel Subassemblies

The third web-based tool is a fragility curve plotter for prequalified steel beam-to-column connections. Two types of connections are available. The first one is fully restrained beam-to-column connections with reduced beam section (see detailed information from Lignos et al. (2010). The second type of connections is typical pre-Northridge steel beam-to-column connections based on the work conducted in Ramirez et al. (2012).

Future Updates

Other Web-Based tools for other structural components are currently under development. Stay tuned for future updates