Severe earthquakes cause damage to buildings. One measure of damage is the residual drift. Large residual drifts suggest expensive repairs and could lead to complete loss of the building. As such, research has been conducted on how to reduce the residual drift. Recent research has focused on self-centering frames and dual systems, both of which increase the post-yield stiffness of the building during and after an earthquake. Self-centering systems have yet to be adopted into standard practice but dual systems are used regularly. Dual systems in steel buildings typically combine two types of traditional lateral force resisting systems such as bucking restrained braced frames (BRBFs) and moment resisting frames (MRFs). However, the cost of making the moment connections for the MRFs can make dual systems costly. An alternative to MRFs is to use gravity columns as the secondary system in a dual system. The gravity columns can be used to help resist the lateral loads and limit the residual drifts if the lateral stiffness of the gravity columns can be activated. By restraining the displacement of the gravity columns, the stiffness of the columns adds to the stiffness of the brace frame, thus engaging the lateral stiffness of the gravity columns. Three methods of engaging the stiffness of the gravity columns are investigated in this thesis; one, fixed ground connections, two, a heavy elastic brace in the top story, and three, a heavy elastic brace in the middle bay. Single and multiple degree of freedom models were analyzed to determine if gravity columns can be effective in reducing residual drift. In the single degree of freedom system (SDOF) models, the brace size was varied to get a range of periods. The column size was varied based on a predetermined range of post-yield stiffness to determine if the residual drift decreased with higher post-yield stiffness. Three and five story models were analyzed with a variety of brace and column sizes and with three different configurations to activate the gravity columns. Using gravity columns as part of a dual system decreases the residual drift in buildings. The results from the SDOF system show that the residual drift decreased with increased post-yield stiffness. The three and five story models showed similar results with less residual drift when larger columns were used. Further, the models with a heavy gravity column in the top story had the best results.



College and Department

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



Date Submitted


Document Type





residual drift, cantilever columns, buckling restrained braces, self-centering frames, post-yield stiffness