Foundation, Concrete and Earthquake Engineering

Performance of Long Building during Earthquake

The length of a building determines its structural response in ways that are not easily determined by the usual methods of analysis. Since ground movement consists of the transmission of waves, which occurs with a velocity that depends on characteristics of the soil on which the structure stands, the excitation that takes place at one point of support of the building at one time differs from the excitation at another time, a difference that is greater to the extent that the length of the building is greater in the direction of the seismic waves.

Short buildings adjust more easily to the waves than long buildings, and undergo similar excitation at all supports. The usual correction for the problem of excessive building length is to partition the structure in blocks by the insertion of seismic expansion joints in such a way that each block can be considered a shorter building.

These joints must be designed to permit adequate movement of each block without the danger of their striking or colliding with each other. Long buildings are also more sensitive to the torsion or horizontal rotation resulting from ground movements, because the differences in the transverse and longitudinal movements of the supporting ground, on which this rotation depends, are greater.

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