Seismic Design and Retrofit of Buildings and Bridges

Postgraduate course. Online.


UPC School


Basis of Seismic Design
6 ECTS. 59 teaching hours.

Dynamics of Structures

  • Basic concepts. Displacement, velocity and acceleration. Frequency and period. Excitation (input) and response (output). Mass, damping and stiffness.
  • Signal analysis. Fourier spectrum.
  • Single-degree-of-freedom systems. Modeling criteria. Natural frequency and damping ratio. Harmonic input. Free and forced responses. Resonance.
  • Multi-degree-of-freedom systems. Lumped masses models. Modelling of symmetric and asymmetric buildings. Diaphragm effect. Modal analysis. Natural frequencies and modal shapes. Modal participation factors. Modal masse.

Earthquake Engineering & Seismology

  • Earthquakes. Origin and propagation. Intensity. Magnitude. Return period.
  • Near-source and far-source registers. Impulsivity, directivity and directionality. Influence of the soil type.

Earthquake-Resistant Design

  • Effects of seismic inputs on structures. Relative displacement, inter-story drift and absolute acceleration.
  • Design codes. Eurocode 8. American regulations.
  • Types of building structures: frames, walls, bracings, dual systems. Behavior of building structures under vertical loads and under horizontal forces.
  • Heuristic seismic design recommendations. Symmetry, uniformity, compactness, lightness, ductility, damping, simplicity, separation. Strong column-weak beam. Short columns.
  • Types of seismic analyses: static linear, static nonlinear, and dynamic nonlinear
  • Response spectra. Acceleration, velocity and displacement spectra. Influence of seismicity, damping, soil type, importance and ductility. Response reduction factor.
  • Multimodal analysis. Number of modes to be considered. Modal combination criteria: SRSS and CQC.
  • Static nonlinear analysis (push-over). Plastic hinges. Modelling criteria: distributed and concentrated plasticity.
  • Performance-based design. Performance points (target drifts: IO, LS, CP, DL, SD, NC). American and European (N2) formulations.
  • Dynamic nonlinear analysis. IDA curves.
  • Vertical seismic analysis.
  • Seismic analysis of non-structural components.
  • Pounding between adjacent buildings. Required gap.
Seismic Design and Retrofit of Buildings
6 ECTS. 58 teaching hours.

Seismic Design of Concrete Buildings

  • Types of concrete building structures. Frames, structural walls, dual systems. Primary and secondary members. Critical regions. Ductility classes. Response reduction factor.
  • Local ductility of critical regions.
  • Structural elements. Beams. Slabs. Columns. Joints. Walls. Coupled walls. Coupling beams. Failure models and modelling with strut-and-tie models.
  • Precast concrete structures.

Seismic Design of Steel Buildings

  • Types of steel and composite building structures. Frames, concentric bracing, eccentric bracing, dual systems.
  • Critical regions. Ductility classes. Response reduction factor.
  • Structural elements. Beams. Slabs. Columns. Joints. Pre-qualified connections. Braces: diagonal, chevron.
  • Special Truss Moment Frames.
  • Outrigger walls.

Seismic Design of Timber Buildings

  • Timber construction. Heavy timber, platform frame, cross-laminated timber.
  • Earthquake-resistant qualities of timber buildings. Ductility of the connections. Design criteria.
  • Example of seismic design of a timber building.

Seismic Design of Masonry Buildings

  • Masonry construction. Unreinforced, confined and reinforced masonry.
  • Earthquake-resistant qualities of masonry buildings. Design criteria.
  • Example of seismic design of a masonry building.

Seismic Retrofit of Buildings

  • Use of the Performance-Based Design.
  • Basic retrofit strategies. Global Structural Stiffening and Strengthening. Bracing. Strengthening of columns.
  • Removal or Lessening of Existing Irregularities. Re-symmetrization. Mass Reduction. Local Modification of Components.
  • Knowledge levels. Decisions for structural interventions.
  • FEMA, ATC and ASCE regulations. Eurocode 8 Part 3.

Seismic Design and Retrofit of Foundations

  • Basic concepts of soil response to earthquakes.
  • Liquefaction. Risk of landslides.
  • Retaining walls. Mononobe-Okabe formulation.
  • Shallow and deep foundations. Tie-beams and foundation beams. Raft foundations
  • Effect of earthquakes on foundations.
  • Applications. Liquefaction potential. Seismic design of foundations. Soil-structure interaction.
Seismic Design and Retrofit of Bridges
2 ECTS. 14 teaching hours.

Seismic Design and Retrofit of Bridges

  • Pedestrian, road and railway bridges.
  • Types of bridges. Decks. Piles. Abutments. Cable-stayed bridges. Suspended bridges
  • Design criteria. AASHTO specifications. Eurocode 8 Part 2.
  • Long-span bridges: spatial variation of the input ground motion.
New Technologies for Seismic Protection
2 ECTS. 13 teaching hours.

Base Isolation

  • Concept of base isolation. Degree of isolation. Limitations. Design criteria. Regulations.
  • Types of isolators. Rubber bearings. RB, LRB, HDRB. Durability.
  • Friction devices; flat and curved surfaces. Other isolators. Supplemental damping.
  • Applications to buildings and bridges. Other applications. 3D isolation.
  • Observed seismic performance of isolated constructions.
  • Applications to seismic retrofit.
  • Design examples.

Energy Dissipators

  • Energy dissipators. Design criteria. Efficiency. Regulations. Applications.
    Types of dissipators. Hysteretic devices. Buckling-restrained braces. Steel walls. Friction devices. Viscous and viscoelastic devices. VD walls. Use of SMA. Other dissipators.
  • Applications to buildings and bridges. Other applications.
  • Applications to seismic retrofit.
  • Design examples.

Mass Dampers

  • Tuned mass dampers. Design criteria. Efficiency. Regulations. Active and semi-active dampers.
  • Shock absorbers. Tuned liquid dampers. Tuned sloshing dampers and liquid column dampers.
  • Applications to tall buildings, communication towers and steel chimneys. Applications to building slabs and pedestrian and road bridges.
Final Thesis
4 ECTS. 16 teaching hours.
  • The topic of the Thesis is proposed by each student and is approved by the director of the Program taking into account the feasibility and the practical interest of the proposal. Eligible themes are seismic designs or retrofits of actual building or bridges, or other relevant theoretical or applied studies. It is strongly recommended that the selected subject is closely related to the professional interests of the attendants.
  • In past edition, some Theses developed by students were: Seismic analysis of a 30 story RC building, Seismic design of a shopping and parking structure, Capacity design of representative multi-span bridges, Simplified racking frame analysis of metro stations, and Pushover analysis to estimate response reduction factor of RC elevated water tanks. Noticeably, some of these Theses consisted in developing general design and construction solutions that can be utilized in a wide set of situations.
Start admission
Information form
(34) 93 706 80 35

(160 teaching hours)

Start date:
Classes start:01/04/2019 Classes end:05/12/2019Programme ends: 28/02/2020

Registration fee:
3.900 €

Language of instruction:
Spanish / English

Registration open until the beginning of the course or until end of vacancies.

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