RESEARCH ARTICLE


Rocking Response of Seismically-Isolated Rigid Blocks Under Simple Acceleration Pulses and Earthquake Excitations



Panayiotis C. Roussis*, Spyroulla Odysseos
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Cyprus, Nicosia, CY-1678, Cyprus


© 2017 Roussis and Odysseos.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode. This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of Cyprus, Nicosia, 1 Panepistimiou Avenue, 2109 Nicosia, Cyprus; Tel: +357 22892210, E-mail: roussis@ucy.ac.cy


Abstract

Background:

Although the dynamic response of rigid block-like structures standing free on a rigid foundation has been extensively studied to date, only a limited number of studies have focused on the dynamics of such systems when seismically isolated.

Objective:

This paper presents a comprehensive investigation on the dynamic response of base-isolated rigid blocks subjected to pulse-type base excitation, with the aim of identifying potential trends in the response and stability of the system.

Method:

The model adopted in this study consists of a rectangular-prismatic rigid block standing free on a seismically-isolated base, which, on the assumption of sufficiently-large friction, can be set into rocking on top of the moving base under dynamic excitation. The study examines in depth the motion of the block/base system with a large-displacement formulation that combines the nonlinear equations of motion with a rigorous model governing impact. Two isolation-system models are utilized in the analysis, a linear viscoelastic model and a bilinear hysteretic model.

Results:

An extensive numerical investigation was performed to calculate the rocking response of the block under simple acceleration pulses and recorded pulse-type earthquake motions of various amplitudes and frequency content. Response-regime spectra for non-isolated and isolated blocks of varying geometric characteristics have been constructed to evaluate the system performance with respect to the rocking initiation and overturning of the block.

Conclusion:

The study showed that, regardless of block size and excitation period, seismic isolation increases the acceleration required to initiate rocking, a benefit that increases as the isolation period increases. In regard to the stability of the rocking block, the use of isolation yields a better system performance for smaller-sized blocks both for short- and mid-period excitations, provided that the isolation system is suitably designed. On the contrary, for long-period pulses, the use of isolation is practically not beneficial in improving the stability of the rocking block, irrespective of its size.

Keywords: Seismic isolation, Rigid block, Rocking, Impact, Overturning, Pulse-type base excitation.