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Structural I

t is no mystery that there are still uncertain- modeling of nonlinear structural components,
ties and lack of guidance when conducting capturing geometric nonlinearities in response,
nonlinear seismic analysis of structures. The pushover analysis, time history analysis, selection

challenge remains that the modeling, type of of ground motions, and how much modeling
nonlinearities, and parameters required for analysis detail is enough to get reasonable results. The
oftentimes vary from project-to-project and person- panelists, ranging in specific expertise centered
to-person depending on the assumptions that are on seismic analysis and design, were:
made in light of limited guidance. This article sum- • Ibrahim “Ibbi” Almufti, S.E., P.E., LEED
discussing problems, solutions,
marizes key points and relevant discourse from a AP, Associate at Arup
idiosyncrasies, and applications panel session as a means of sharing information, • Finley Charney, Ph.D., P.E., Professor at
of various analysis methods advancing the practice, and closing the gap between Virginia Tech
research/development and practice associated with • Amir Gilani, Ph.D., S.E., Structural
conducting nonlinear seismic analysis. Specialist at Miyamoto International, Inc.
• Walterio A. Lopez, S.E., Principal at
Rutherford & Chekene
Motivation • Weichang Pang, ® Ph.D., Associate Professor

From the 2012 survey results compiled by the ASCE at Clemson University
Subcommittee on Emerging Analysis Methods in • Rafael Sabelli, S.E., Director of Seismic

Earthquake Engineering and published in Nonlinear Design at Walter P Moore
Analysis in Modern Earthquake Engineering Practice • James Daniel Dolan, Ph.D., Professor at

(STRUCTURE, March 2014), ht four (4) major bar- Washington State University

Cop for entry into nonlinear
riers The general consensus for eight (8) major areas
analysis were identified: 1) high are summarized herein based on the following
Challenging Issues When
complexity, 2) time consump- categories: 1) when to conduct nonlinear analysis,

tion, 3) lack of clear guidance, 2) the challenges, 3) justification to owners, 4)
Conducting Nonlinear and 4) communicating the
n challenges for structural software industry, 5)
benefit of advanced analyses nonlinear analysis validation, 6) need for more
Seismic Analysis z
to owners. The Subcommittee guidance, 7) pushover analysis and 8) “the future.”
was led to charter more discus-
sions and means to “close the When to Conduct
By Monique Head, Ph.D., a
gap” between research/development and practice
Nonlinear Analysis
Rakesh Pathak, Ph.D., P.E.,
Susendar Muthukumar, Ph.D., P.E. m
about nonlinear seismic analysis. To further this
effort, a panel discussion consisting of academics All panelists unanimously pointed out that nonlin-
and Kevin R. Mackie, Ph.D., P.E. and practitioners was held at the 2015 Structures ear analysis should be applied in situations where
Congress in Portland, Oregon. Critical issues and the building type is not regular or assumptions of
challenges to date were discussed, and viewpoints code-based linear analysis are not valid anymore.
were shared. This article summarizes some of the Everyone also agreed that analysis for retrofitting or
highlights from the session that may prove useful presence of certain lateral-force resisting systems like
for structural engineers who are confronted with the viscous dampers, isolators, or any new type of lateral-
challenge of conducting nonlinear seismic analysis, force resisting system warrants nonlinear analysis.
where several initial questions arise:
• Does this design warrant advanced
nonlinear analysis?
The Challenges
• Who will pay for it? The primary point emphasized was the need to
• Will the project finish on time due to the interpret results from advanced analysis, which
extended amount of time required to do requires experience and peer reviews. “The added
such a complicated analysis? cost and likely peer review time and expenses asso-
• Is there confidence in the results produced ciated with nonlinear procedures may be a barrier
based on assumptions made? of entry [Gilani].” This begged the next concern
As structural engineers, we have a huge responsi- for determining when advanced analysis is even
bility to society and the profession based on the deemed necessary, especially given the processing
designs we produce. As if that’s not a big enough time, time needed to interpret results and cost to do
charge, we know that these undertakings can be such analyses. The second challenge identified was
daunting at best. the scaling of ground motions. All of these challenges
were also identified from the 2012 survey, but rose as
the top two challenges agreed among the panelists.
Panel Discussion
During the 2015 SEI/ASCE Structures Congress,
seven (7) panelists from academia and indus-
Justification to Owners
try gathered together to discuss some of the Justification to owners is one of the starting points
challenging issues facing the profession, such as before an engineer can proceed to do nonlinear

38 March 2016
seismic analysis in cases where it is not war- important to recognize, as it goes hand-in-hand scaling, which can increase the required analysis
ranted. Each panelist had a slightly different with the need to interpret results. Moreover, fur- by another factor of 2, 3 or 4…the time required
perspective based on their experience and under- ther guidance was needed for validating models, to perform this analysis can be measured in
standing. Almufti and Pang pointed out that assuming that the modeling results are reliable, hours or days for a single analysis for complex
simulated financial losses and downtime after while supporting documents from FEMA P-695 systems [Charney].” As such, future additions
a seismic event could be one of the motivation and ASCE 7/41 help with selection and scaling and enhancements to ASCE 7-16 and ASCE-
for the owners. Lopez indicated nonlinear analy- of ground motions [Pang]. Similarly, when fol- 41 may (or may not!) be welcomed continuous
sis could provide potential savings in material/ lowing ASCE 7 Chapter 16 “where the system improvement to aid advanced analyses.
schedule/etc. over the code prescribed linear is to be modeled in 3D, subjected to 11 pairs of
procedures. Charney noted that justification ground motions, and in cases where accidental
may not be likely if the same building can be torsion must be analyzed, this can increase to
Pushover Analysis
designed by satisfying all the code require- 44 pairs of ground motions with the use of “To do pushover analysis or not, that is the
ments. Sabelli and Gilani indicated that a lack scenario spectra as the target for ground motion question!” The general impression from the
of reliability of linear methods in certain
situations could be the driving factor. Sabelli
also indicated economy and design creativity ®

for unconventional systems as justification
for performing nonlinear analysis. Overall,

everybody agreed that nonlinear procedures
are time consuming and computationally

demanding, and also require an added cost righ

of peer review. Cop

Challenges for Structural
Software Industry
i n
The general consensus to this question was
that software must provide tools for effi-
cient data management, post-processing
g a
and reduction in run time for nonlinear
time history analysis. a

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Nonlinear Analysis
This is the confidence building step which
every engineer “must” go through during

the nonlinear analysis. Unfortunately, there

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conditions like dead and live load in col- As part of MiTek’s complete range of structural products,
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STRUCTURE magazine 39 March 2016

panelists was that a pushover analysis should acceptance criteria for structural elements
Monique Head, Ph.D., is an Associate
not be used as the sole measure and not be in new construction, since ASCE-41 is not
Professor in the Department of Civil
needed if one is performing a nonlinear time intended for new construction [Lopez].”
Engineering at Morgan State University
history analysis. It was noted that pushover While a fruitful discussion and exchange of
in Baltimore, MD. She is the vice chair
analysis is less useful for drift or ductility information from experienced advanced anal-
for the ASCE SEI Subcommittee on
demand, but rather to help proportion the yses users took place, there is still more work
Emerging Analysis Methods in Earthquake
structure to activate any intended ductile to do to streamline this process and educate
Engineering. She can be reached at
mechanism [Sabelli]. Furthermore, “push- future engineers on advanced nonlinear analy-
over analysis is probably not appropriate for sis procedures. So the question still remains,
multi-mode buildings [Almufti].” Pushover do we “pay now or pay later?” For a com- Rakesh Pathak, Ph.D., P.E., is a Senior
analysis was also noted as “not being useful… plete listing of the panelists’ responses, please Research Engineer and program developer
do a response history, as collapse mechanisms visit for bridge and building analysis products
are frequently misidentified, even for short SEI-SEC/Panelist.html. at Bentley Systems Inc. He is the chair for
buildings [Lopez].” ASCE SEI Subcommittee on Emerging
Analysis Methods in Earthquake
Acknowledgment Engineering. He® can be reached at
The Future

The findings and opinions presented herein
Given recent discussions and even votes, are those of the authors and are not neces-

Susendar Muthukumar, Ph.D., P.E., is
the need for more education and training sarily those of the American Society of Civil
a Senior Engineer and Senior Associate
on advanced topics like nonlinear analysis Engineers (ASCE). The support provided

with the Research & Development Group
cannot be overstated. Education, training, by the panelists,rigASCE
ht Subcommittee on
of Walter P Moore & Associates based

workshops, continuing education units, and Cop
Emerging Analysis Methods in Earthquake
in Austin, TX. He can be reached at
other types of professional development are Engineering and Seismic Effects Committee is

paramount. Training in school and other greatly appreciated. The ASCE Subcommittee

“proper training of engineers’, as noted by on Emerging Analysis Methods in Earthquake Kevin R. Mackie, Ph.D., P.E., is an
Graham Powell’s two articles in the November Engineering and Seismic Effects Committee Associate Professor and Associate Chair at
and December 2008 issues of STRUCTURE cordially invite all those interested in learning the University of Central Florida, Orlando,
magazine, were reiterated by Lopez. Coupled more about our activity and future pursuits FL. He is the chair of the ASCE/SEI
with more knowledge would be the need a
to attend our meeting during the 2017 ASCE Seismic Effects technical committee. He can

for “better post-processing tools as well as Structures Congress in Denver, CO.▪ be reached at

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STRUCTURE magazine 40 March 2016