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Virtual Laboratory - Nonlinear Two Story Building

This virtual experiment allows you to conduct nonlinear dynamic analysis for a two story building. The building is modeled as a two degree-of-freedom system with various types of nonlinear models for each story.

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Version 1.0-3b - published on 21 Sep 2010

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It is common to design structures to behave nonlinearly under extreme load conditions, e.g. earthquakes and hurricanes. To instruct students or practitioners to better understand the effect of nonlinear behavior of buildings, our research effort has focused on the development of the nonlinear dynamic analysis virtual laboratories.

In this simulation, the structure is modeled as a two-story building. Same analytical model are used to described the behavior of each story of the structure, while different parameters are allowed for different stories. Based on different models employed, this simulator consists of four cases: (i) linear structure with each story designed as linear model; (ii) nonlinear structure with each story designed as nonlinear damping model; (iii) nonlinear structure with each story designed as hysteretic bilinear model; (iv) nonlinear structure with each story designed as hysteretic Bouc Wen model.

The user is allowed to select different model to design the structure, to change the parameters of the structure and choose different earthquake ground motions to do analysis. This simulation is intended to be used to increase understanding and provide a conceptual “feel” for various parameter changes on the performance of nonlinear structures under different excitations.

This document offers a description of how to operate and use the Java-Powered Simulation for Nonlinear Structure, a picture of which is shown below, and also the technical background of this simulation. A number of “homework” problems (or exercises) are suggested and references are provided.

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Dr. Bill Spencer, Smart Structures Technology Laboratory,

Sponsored by

Smart Structures Technology Laboratory


Teb Belytschko and Thomas J.R. Hughes (1983). "Computational Methods for Transient Analysis", North-Holland. Glen V. Berg (1989). "Elements of Structural Dynamics", Prentice Hall. Joseph W. Tedesco, William G. McDougal and C. Allen Ross (1998). "Structural Dynamics: theory and applications", Addison-Wesley.

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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • (2010), "Virtual Laboratory - Nonlinear Two Story Building,"

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