Analysis and interpretation of the seismic response of RC buildings in Concepcin during the February 27, 2010, Chile earthquake

Observed trends in the seismic performance of eight severely damaged reinforced concrete (RC) structures after the February 27, 2010, Chile earthquake are presented in this article. After a reconnaissance and surveying process conducted immediately after the earthquake, several aspects not conventionally considered in building design were observed in the field. Most of the considered structures showed extensive localized damage in walls of lower stories and first basements. Several factors indicate that damage was brittle, and occurred mainly in recent RC structures supported on soft soils with some degree of vertical and/or horizontal irregularity. Non-ductile behavior has been inferred due to the lack of evidence of spread damage in the structure, and the fact that very similar structural configurations existed nearby without apparent damage. Some key aspects in understanding the observed damage are: geographical orientation of the building, presence of vertical and horizontal irregularities, wall thickness and reinforcement detailing, and lack of sources for energy dissipation. Additionally, results of a building-code type analysis are presented for the 4 most critical buildings, and Demand/Capacity ratios are calculated and compared with the observed behavior. It is concluded that the design codes must be revised relative to wall design provisions.