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Re: Response spectra in seismic design.

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Carlos -

The short form of the response spectrum method is that
it is a means to characterize theoretical peak dynamic
response of damped or undamped single degree-of-freedom
oscillators to particular dynamic excitation signals.
The concept is that you can read the maximum magnitude
response of the oscillator (e.g. building) in which you
are interested to a particular excitation (e.g. 1940 El
Centro earthquake) off of a pre-computed plot by knowing
the resonant frequency and critical damping ratio of the
oscillator.  This greatly simplifies the process of
determining maximum dynamic response, and potentially
determining a good envelope of response.

For more detail, I suggest pursuing a good text discussing
the subject, such as Chopra's Dynamics of Structures:
Theory and Applications to Earthquake Engineering.  Using
the response spectrum method, and *mis*using the method,
are both quite easy to do, and careful study of the
details of the method and its application to multiple
degree-of-freedom systems and nonlinear systems is


Charley Hamilton

Charles Hamilton, PhD EIT               Faculty Fellow
Department of Civil and                 Phone: 949.824.3752
    Environmental Engineering           FAX:   949.824.2117
University of California, Irvine        Email: chamilto(--nospam--at)

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