August 19, 2021

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Jaime Mercado Coauthored Article on Structure Modeling for the Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering

Jaime Mercado, Ph.D., S.M.ASCE, (Tennessee) coauthored an article entitled "Nonlinear Inelastic-Degrading Structural Modeling Approach to Assess the Seismic Soil-Structure Interaction Response of Tall Buildings" for publication in the Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering on August 5, 2021.

Jaime's coauthors were Luis Arboleda-Monsalve and Kevin Mackie, University of Central Florida.

Jaime Mercado is a Senior Staff Professional who specializes in geotechnical engineering, soil-structure interaction, and geotechnical and structural earthquake engineering. He has performed extensive research on the behavior and performance of geotechnical structures from experimental and numerical viewpoints. His experience also includes liquefaction analyses, geotechnical design, slope stability, foundation design, and urban excavation.

The American Society of Civil Engineers' (ASCE) Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering covers the broad area of practice known as geotechnical engineering. The journal publishes papers on topics such as foundations, retaining structures, soil dynamics, engineering behavior of soil and rock, site characterization, slope stability, dams, rock engineering, earthquake engineering, environmental geotechnics, geosynthetics, computer modeling, groundwater monitoring and restoration, and coastal and geotechnical ocean engineering.

The ASCE represents more than 150,000 members of the civil engineering profession in 177 countries. Founded in 1852, ASCE is the nation's oldest engineering society. ASCE stands at the forefront of a profession that plans, designs, constructs, and operates society's economic and social engine – the built environment – while protecting and restoring the natural environment.


Oversimplifying structural modeling in the analysis of the seismic performance of tall buildings introduces variability and biases in the computed seismic response. Engineering demand parameters (EDPs) from coupled soil–structure interaction (SSI) systems can only be realistically determined when nonlinear constitutive soil and structural behaviors are adopted in the numerical formulation. Large-magnitude earthquakes mobilize soil and structural demands that are beyond the elastic response of both materials. This paper aims at evaluating the influence of the structural modeling assumptions in the computed soil response due to seismic excitations using a direct fully coupled nonlinear SSI approach. Numerical analyses are conducted on elastic and nonlinear inelastic-degrading tall building models supported on a mat foundation-to-soil continuum domain using a multiple-yield surface plane-strain constitutive model. The models were subjected to multiple ground motion scenarios representative of broadband frequency content. Large discrepancies occur between linear and nonlinear inelastic tall buildings in terms of interstory drifts, peak horizontal accelerations, structural displacements, hysteretic energy, foundation rotation, and soil settlements. The results show how using nonlinear inelastic-degrading structural models of tall buildings largely affect the computed seismic response of the entire SSI system relative to linear elastic structural modeling approaches. More realistic responses are obtained using nonlinear degrading building models including SSI effects, because energy distribution and tradeoff among both the supporting soils and structure vary significantly as the seismic demands induce stresses and strains in the building beyond the onset of structural yielding.

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