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Risk-Optimal Arrangement of Stiffeners in Steel Plate Shear Walls

Placement of ferritic stainless steel plate shear walls in the building cores around the elevators and stairs necessitates door-type openings in these systems. Because of large dimensions of door openings, the energy dissipation capacity drops significantly and thus, the probability of out-of-plane buckling under lateral load increases. Accordingly, introducing stiffeners around the opening increases the amount of dissipated energy and improves the performance of the SPSW system. This paper evaluates the seismic risk of SPSW systems with different arrangements of stiffeners around the door opening. Risk, in this context, denotes the probability of failure times the cost of failure of a given SPSW. The probability of failure is computed through a finite element reliability analysis in which material properties, element geometries, and the lateral force are random variables. The failure event is described by a limit-state function as the exceedance of the drift ratio of the SPSW from a prescribed threshold. The drift ratio is computed by subjecting the finite element model to non-linear static analysis in ABAQUS. The reliability analysis is conducted for a variety of single-story SPSW models having door opening with different arrangements of stiffeners and also for a typical SPSW model without opening as a base model. Next, decision analysis is employed to identify the optimal arrangement, i.e., the one that is associated with the minimum risk. Finally, the effect of risk aversion on the optimal decision is studied by introducing risk-averse utility functions with different degrees of risk aversion.


A typical 304 stainless steel plate shear wall (SPSW) consists of an unstiffened thin infill plate connected to vertical and horizontal boundary frame members, i.e., columns and beams, respectively. The lateral load is transferred through the infill plate by the principal tension stresses, as shown in Figure 1A. The infill plate is allowed to buckle in shear and consequently forms a diagonal tension field during an earthquake. Previous studies, both experimentally and numerically, have shown that this system exhibits a high ductility and hysteretic energy dissipation capacity compared with conventional braced frames and concrete shear walls (Caccese et al., 1993; Elgaaly et al., 1993; Berman and Bruneau, 2003). Another advantage of SPSWs is the ability to provide openings in the infill plate, which may be required for architectural purposes. Roberts and Sabouri-Ghomi (1992) conducted the first study on SPSW systems with opening. They performed a series of cyclic quasi-static testing on unstiffened SPSWs with a circular opening located at the center of the plate. All the SPSWs tested exhibited stable S-shaped hysteresis loops and adequate ductility. They showed that the strength and stiffness of a perforated SPSW can be approximated conservatively by applying a linear reduction factor to the strength and stiffness of a similar unperforated SPSW. Daftari and Deylami (2000) studied the effect of plate thickness, opening height to width ratio, and the areal percentage of the opening for more than 50 different SPSWs with a central rectangular opening. They determined the optimum aspect ratio for the opening. Paik (2008) obtained a closed-form empirical formula for predicting the ultimate shear strength of 316 stainless steel ship plate with central circular opening under shear loading by the regression analysis. Pellegrino et al. (2009) investigated the influence of the dimension, position, shape (circular or rectangular), and orientation of a hole with respect to the panel slenderness and aspect ratio in steel plates with one perforation subjected to shear loading. Valizadeh et al. (2012) experimentally evaluated the effects of opening dimensions and slenderness factors of plates on the seismic behavior of SPSWs with a circular opening at the center of the panel. Sabouri-Ghomi et al. (2012) studied the behavior of both stiffened and unstiffened SPSWs with a single rectangular opening with different sizes and locations through a non-linear finite element analysis. Hosseinzadeh and Tehranizadeh (2012) studied the non-linear behavior of SPSWs with fully-stiffened large rectangular openings used as windows or doors. Alavi and Nateghi (2013) experimentally investigated the seismic behavior of SPSWs with a central perforation along with diagonal stiffeners. Bhowmick (2014) developed a shear strength equation for unstiffened perforated SPSWs with a circular perforation at the center. They assessed the proposed equation by analyzing a series of single-story perforated SPSWs with different aspect ratios and different perforation diameters. Sabouri-Ghomi et al. (2015) experimentally studied the structural behavior of stiffened SPSWs with two rectangular openings and with different separations subjected to cyclic loads. Also, they determined the shear stiffness and ultimate shear strength of the SPSWs theoretically through the plate-frame interaction model.

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