Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

Abbie B. Liel

Second Advisor

Keith Porter

Third Advisor

Nicolas Luco


This study examines the response of reinforced concrete (RC) frame buildings to both, physics-based ground motion simulations and recorded ground motions time histories. Nonlinear dynamic analysis is used to evaluate the response of six archetypical RC frame buildings to a set of three simulated and three recorded earthquakes. Using probabilistic analysis, building response is examined and statistically compared to determine whether the broadband ground motion simulations and the recorded ground motion time histories yield similar distributions for building response. Important aspects of the ground motion time histories which may cause differences in building response are then examined to attempt and explain the source of any dissimilarity in response. This study also examines the potential of applying the probabilistic analysis outlined in this study to the broader area of seismic risk analysis and potentially offers a new framework with which to evaluate building vulnerability to seismic events.

Results indicate that, when examined based on the elastic spectral response and inelastic spectral response, there are not significant statistical differences in building response. The long period energy content of the ground motions was found to play a key role in any differences which do exist. Higher mode effects, earthquake duration, energy content and rate of energy accruement were not found to have a significant effect on differences in building response.