Seismic design procedure and seismic response of post-tensioned self-centering steel frames

Hyung Joon Kim, Constantin Christopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

135 Scopus citations


Post-tensioned (PT) self-centering moment-resisting frames (MRFs) have recently been developed as an alternative to welded moment frames. The first generation of these systems incorporated yielding energy dissipation mechanisms, whereas more recently, PT self-centering friction damped (SCFR) moment-resistant connections have been proposed and experimentally validated. Although all of these systems exhibited good stiffness, strength and ductility properties and stable dissipation of energy under cyclic loading, questions concerning their ultimate response still remained and a complete design methodology to allow engineers to conceive structures using these systems was also needed. In this paper, the mechanics of SCFR frames are first described and a comprehensive design procedure that accounts for the frame behavior and the nonlinear dynamics of self-centering frames is then elaborated. A strategy for the response of these systems at ultimate deformation stages is then proposed and detailing requirements on the beams in order to achieve this response are outlined. The proposed procedure aims to achieve designs where the interstory drifts for SCFR frames are similar to those of special steel welded moment-resisting frames (WMRFs). Furthermore, this procedure is adapted from current seismic design practices and can be extended to any other PT self-centering steel frame system. A six-story building incorporating WMRFs was designed and a similar building incorporating SCFR frames were re-designed by the proposed seismic design procedure. Time-history analyses showed that the maximum interstory drifts and maximum floor accelerations of the SCFR frame were similar to those of the WMRF but that almost zero residual drifts were observed for the SCFR frame. The results obtained from the analyses confirmed the validity of the proposed seismic design procedure, since the peak drift values were similar to those prescribed by the seismic design codes and the SCFR frames achieved the intended performance level under both design and maximum considerable levels of seismic loading.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-376
Number of pages22
JournalEarthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2009


  • Post-tension
  • Restraining effects
  • Seismic design procedure
  • Self-centering


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