Ductile braced frames are often used to resist lateral earthquake loads in steel buildings; however the presence of a brace element can sometimes interfere with architectural features. One common type of ductile braced frame system sometimes used to accommodate architectural features is the eccentrically braced frame (EBF). In order to dissipate seismic forces, EBF beam regions (called links) must sustain large inelastic deformations. EBF links with column connections must transmit large moments and shear forces to facilitate link rotation. Experiments have shown that welded link-to-column connections tend to fracture in the link flange prior to large link rotations. This study investigated methods for improving EBF link-to-column connection performance, and proposed an alternative ductile braced frame system for accommodating architectural features. Several EBF links with reduced web and flange sections were analytically investigated using validated finite element models in ABAQUS. Results indicated that putting holes in the link web reduced stress and strain values in the link flanges at the connection, but increased the plastic strain and stress triaxiality in the web at the edges of holes. Removing area from the link flanges had little effect on connection stresses and strains. Thus, the reduced web section and reduced flange section methods are not a promising solution to the EBF link-to-column connection problem. The alternative braced frame system proposed in the dissertation used ductile beam splices and buckling-restrained braces in eccentric configurations (BRBF-Es) to accommodate architectural features. Design considerations for the BRBF-Es were determined and dynamic BRBF-E performance was compared with EBF performance. BRBF-E system and component performance was determined using multiple finite element methods. Inter-story drifts and residual drifts for the BRBF-Es were similar to those for EBFs. Results indicated that BRBF-Es are a viable alternative to the EBF, and may result in better design economy than EBFs. With the BRBF-E, damage was isolated within the brace, and in the EBF, damage was isolated within the link, indicating simpler repairs with the BRBF-E. Shop welding of BRBF-E members may replace the multiple field welds required in EBF construction.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Civil and Environmental Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





EBF, BRBF-E, dynamic analysis, finite element analysis, steel ductile braced frame, seismic design