Influence of vertical component of ground shaking on building collapse

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While many cases of structural damage in past earthquakes have been attributed to strong vertical ground shaking, our understanding of vertical seismic load effects and their influence on collapse mechanisms of buildings is limited. This study quantifies ground motion parameters that are capable of predicting trends in building collapse due to vertical shaking, identifies the types of buildings that are most likely affected by strong vertical ground motions, and investigates the relationship between element level responses and structural collapse under multi-directional shaking. To do so, two sets of incremental dynamic analyses (IDA) are run on five nonlinear building models of varying height, geometry, and design era. The first IDA is run using the horizontal component alone; the second IDA applies the vertical and horizontal motions simultaneously. When ground motion parameters are considered independently, acceleration-based measures of the vertical shaking best predict trends in building collapse associated with vertical shaking. When multiple parameters are considered, Housner intensity (SI), computed as a ratio between vertical and horizontal components of a record (SIV/SIH), predicts the significance of vertical shaking for collapse. The building with extensive structural cantilevered members is the most influenced by vertical ground shaking, but all frame structures (with either flexural and shear critical columns) are impacted. In addition, the load effect from vertical ground motions is found to be significantly larger than the nominal value used in U.S. building design.