FRAME3D is a program for the three-dimensional nonlinear analysis of buildings. It aims to overcome the computational challenges posed by full 3D analysis of buildings subject to earthquake ground motion. The element library consists of a plastic hinge beam element, an elastofiber beam element, a modified elastofiber element to model buckling-sensitive slender columns and braces, a panel zone element to model joints, a 4-noded diaphragm element to model floor slabs, and an elastic translational/rotational spring element to model foundations and supports. The program utilizes a Netwon-Raphson iteration strategy applied to an implicit Newmark time-integration scheme to solve the nonlinear equations of motion at each time-step. Geometric nonlinearity and shear deformation are included in the formulation. Register at http://virtualshaker.caltech.edu for free online access to FRAME3D.


MOVIE OF A WATER TANK COLLAPSING UNDER THE 1995 KOBE TAKATORI NEAR-SOURCE RECORD SCALED DOWN BY A FACTOR OF 0.32.  ANALYSIS WAS DONE USING FRAME3D.  You can view many more animations of structural response under earthquakes here and here.

Problems that have been successfully solved include tall steel moment frame buildings subject to strong ground motion from near-source earthquakes and large scenario earthquakes on great faults such as the San Andreas fault. Currently being used to study steel braced frame buildings and tall buildings with dual systems. Future plans for this program include populating the element library with other structural elements such as walls etc., parallelizing the program so that it can handle super-highrise buildings and long-span bridges.

The first version of the program was developed by Dr. Swaminathan Krishnan (Assistant Professor of Structural Engineering and Geophysics) during his Ph.D. research under the guidance of Dr. John F. Hall (Professor of Civil Engineering) in California Institute of Technology.  Dr. Krishnan is a registered Structural Engineer (S.E.) and Professional Engineer (P.E., Civil) in the State of California.

Keywords: Tall buildings, beam element, steel moment frames, steel braced frames, earthquakes, near-source ground motion,  time-history analysis, structural analysis, pushover analysis, structural design, dynamic analysis, three-dimensional analysis, floor slabs, diaphragm element, plastic hinge, fiber, elastofiber element, panel zone, finite element method.

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