Since the prediction of the seismic response of structures is highly uncertain, the need for the probabilistic approach is clear, especially for the estimation of critical seismic response parameters. Considering the uncertainties present in the material and geometric form of reinforced concrete (RC) structures, reliability analyses using the Finite Element Method (FEM) were performed in the context of Performance-Based Earthquake Engineering (PBEE). This study presented and compared the possibilities of nonlinear modelling of the reinforced concrete (RC) planar frame and its reliability analysis using different numerical methods, Mean-Value First-Order Second-Moment (MVFOSM), First-Order Reliability Method (FORM), Second-Order Reliability Method (SORM) and Monte Carlo simulation (MCS). The calibrated numerical models used were based on the previous experimental test of a planar RC frame subjected to cyclic horizontal load. Numerical models were upgraded by random variable (RV) parameters for reliability analysis purposes and, using implicit
limit state function (LSF), pushover analyses were performed by controlling the horizontal inter-storey drift ratio (IDR). Reliability results were found to be sensitive to the reliability analysis method. The results of reliability analysis reveal that, in a nonlinear region, after exceeding the yield strength of the longitudinal reinforcement, the cross-sectional geometry parameters were of greater importance compared to the parameters of the material characteristics. The results also show that epistemic (knowledge-based) uncertainties significantly affected dispersion and on the median estimate parameter response. The MCS sampling method is recommended, but the First-Order Reliability Method (FORM) applied on a response model can be used with good accuracy. Reliability analysis using the FEM proved to be suitable for the direct implementation of geometric and material nonlinearities to cover epistemic (knowledge-based) uncertainties.
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