Rocking Isolation of Frames on Isolated Footings: Design Insights and Limitations
To date, a significant research effort has been devoted attempting to introduce novel seismic protection schemes, taking advantage of mobilization of inelastic foundation response. According to such an emerging seismic design concept, termed “rocking isolation,” instead of over-designing the footings of a frame (as in conventional capacity design), they are intentionally under-designed to promote uplifting and respond to strong seismic shaking through rocking, thus bounding the inertia forces transmitted to the superstructure. Recent research has demonstrated the potential effectiveness of rocking isolation for the seismic protection of frame structures, using a simple 1-bay frame as an illustrative example. This article: (a) sheds light in the possible limitations of rocking isolation, especially in view of the unavoidable uncertainties regarding the estimation of soil properties; (b) investigates the potential detrimental effects of ground motion characteristics; and (c) assesses the effectiveness of rocking isolation to more complex structures. It is shown that the concept may be generalized to 2-bay frames, and that even when foundation rocking is limited, the positive effect of foundation under-design remains, especially when it comes to very strong seismic shaking. In contrast, its effectiveness may be limited when the frame is subjected to combined horizontal and synchronous vertical acceleration components — a possible scenario on the surface of alluvial basins.
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