How do tall buildings affect seismic earth pressures on their basement walls?

Francisco J. Pinto*, Shideh Dashti*, Christian Ledezma*, Jose A. Abell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The construction of tall buildings has recently undergone exponential growth in major cities, creating new challenges in earthquake engineering and design. For instance, existing analytical procedures for evaluating seismic lateral earth pressures on basement walls connected to these buildings typically ignore the inertia and dynamic properties of the superstructure. The inertial forces from a tall superstructure may cause additional displacements and rotations in its basement, affecting the distribution and magnitude of seismic lateral earth pressures. These additional soil-basement-structure-interaction (SBSI) effects are currently not well understood. Hence, the applicability and reliability of existing procedures to the basements of tall buildings remain questionable. In this paper, we use an experimental-numerical approach to provide insight into how the lateral resisting system of tall superstructures may impact the magnitude and distribution of seismic earth pressures on basement walls buried in dry sand and gravel. Numerical simulations are first validated in 3D using a prior centrifuge experiment that included a simplified model of a 42-story, high-rise structure in medium-dense, dry sand. Then, the numerical tool is used to perform 156 2D, nonlinear simulations of more realistic buildings and basements, ground motion characteristics, and sandy and gravely soil profiles. Nonlinear numerical simulations successfully capture the building's inertial and kinematic seismic interactions with the basement and an adjacent underground structure. The subsequent numerical sensitivity study showed that inertial forces from the dynamic lateral movements of the tall superstructure increase the total lateral earth pressures on the basement walls. This increase is particularly notable in the top two-thirds of the basement wall, and it can be approximated by a trapezoidal distribution. These effects and reliability of existing analytical procedures are shown to be highly sensitive to the building's modal frequencies in relation to the frequency content of the input motion as well as the stiffness of the structure-basement system with regard to the underlying soil. The results highlight the importance of considering the building's dynamic properties and inertia in evaluating seismic earth pressures on basement walls to avoid unsafe estimations or the need for overdesign.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107968
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalSoil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering
Volume171
DOIs
StatePublished - 22 Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

  • Basement walls
  • Lateral earth pressures
  • Soil-structure interaction
  • Tall buildings

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