Bracing systems for seismic retrofitting of steel frames

L. Di Sarno, A. S. Elnashai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations


The present study assesses the seismic performance of steel moment resisting frames (MRFs) retrofitted with different bracing systems. Three structural configurations were utilized: special concentrically braces (SCBFs), buckling-restrained braces (BRBFs) and mega-braces (MBFs). A 9-storey steel perimeter MRF was designed with lateral stiffness insufficient to satisfy code drift limitations in zones with high seismic hazard. The frame was then retrofitted with SCBFs, BRBFs and MBFs. Inelastic time-history analyses were carried out to assess the structural performance under earthquake ground motions. Local (member rotations) and global (interstorey and roof drifts) deformations were employed to compare the inelastic response of the retrofitted frames. It is shown that MBFs are the most cost-effective bracing systems. Maximum storey drifts of MBFs are 70% lower than MRFs and about 50% lower than SCBFs. The lateral drift reductions are, however, function of the characteristics of earthquake ground motions, especially frequency content. Configurations with buckling-restrained mega-braces possess seismic performance marginally superior to MBFs despite their greater weight. The amount of steel for structural elements and their connections in configurations with mega-braces is 20% lower than in SCBFs. This reduces the cost of construction and renders MBFs attractive for seismic retrofitting applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)452-465
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Constructional Steel Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Metals and Alloys


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