The ground motion characteristics are essential for understanding the structural seismic response. In this paper, the time-frequency analytical method is used to analyze the time-frequency energy distribution of ground motion, and its effect on the dynamic response of nonlinear structure is studied and discussed. The time-frequency energy distribution of ground motion is obtained by the matching pursuit decomposition algorithm, which not only effectively reflects the energy distribution of different frequency components in time, but also reflects the main frequency components existing near the peak ground acceleration occurrence time. A series of artificial ground motions with the same peak ground acceleration, Fourier amplitude spectrum, and duration are generated and chosen as the earthquake input of the structural response. By analyzing the response of the elasto-perfectly-plastic structure excited by artificial seismic waves, it can be found that the time-frequency energy distribution has a great influence on the structural ductility. Especially if there are even multiple frequency components in the same ground motion phrase, the plastic deformation of the elasto-perfectly-plastic structure will continuously accumulate in a certain direction, resulting in a large nonlinear displacement. This paper reveals that the time-frequency energy distribution of a strong ground motion has a vital influence on the structural response.
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