The Design of a Real-Scale Steel Moment-Resisting Frame for Pseudo-Dynamic Earthquake Testing

Antonella B. Francavilla1, *, Massimo Latour1, Gianvittorio Rizzano1
1 Department of Civil Engineering, University of Salerno, Salerno, Italy

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© 2020 Francavilla et al.

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: ( 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 Engineering, University of Salerno, Salerno, Italy; E-mail:



For the reliable prediction of the non-linear response of structures, severe seismic events have proven to be a challenging task. Although much non-linear analysis software exists, the accuracy of the results depends on the assumptions made in the characterization of the members. Typically, the analytical models are calibrated using experimental observations. With this scope, experimental research remains the most reliable mean for the assessment of the seismic performance of structures, and it is crucial to target the development of new analytical models and design methods.


Quasi-static tests can provide information on the non-linear behaviour of subassemblies, but it is often difficult to relate the imposed force or displacement histories to those that might occur during an earthquake. The pseudo-dynamic method combines an on-line computer simulation with experimental information about the tested structure, providing the application of realistic dynamic response histories. In this paper, the preliminary analysis and the design of a pseudo-dynamic testing facility for the experimental study of a real scale two storeys-two bays steel MRF, with classical and innovative joint details, are shown.


Pushover and Incremental Dynamic Analyses carried out with Seismostruct software estimate the forces and displacements expected at each storey for the selected ground motions. These analyses have been performed by varying the structural detail of the beam-to-column connections.

Results / Conclusion:

In this paper, the analytical prediction of the performance of two bays-two storeys steel frames equipped with different solutions of beam-to-column joints is focused. Based on the performed analyses, it has been recognized that steel frames with partial strength joints can provide satisfactory performance under severe seismic actions provided that the joints are adequately designed.

Keywords: Moment resisting frames, Steel connections, Innovative joints, Pseudo-dynamic facility, Seismostruct software, Quasi-static tests.