cod. 1002219

Academic year 2019/20
2° year of course - Annual
Professor responsible for the course unit
integrated course unit
12 credits
course unit

Learning objectives

Knowledge and understanding:
At the end of the unit 1, the student will acquire the theoretical basis and the application tools for calculating the response of structures subjected to dynamic loads of different types (vibration, shock/impact, wind, earthquake, etc.).
Aim of the unit 2 is to provide the fundamentals for the design of reinforced concrete, masonry and steel building under seismic actions.

Applying knowledge and understanding:
At the end of the unit 1, the student will have acquired the ability to understand and model the dynamic behavior of engineering structures, in order to assess their degree of safety.
The main skills that students should acquire at the end of the unit 2 are: Achievement of good ability in the structural concepts of new civil buildings subject to seismic action; Achievement of sufficient sensitivity to the main issues related to seismic retrofitting techniques of existing buildings.

Making judgements:
The design and verification of structures performed with the aid of calculation codes has become current practice nowadays. The complexity of computer codes and number of structural verifications required by regulations may be a source of significant computational and conceptual errors. The student will therefore govern the procedure adopted in the current design practice, with a constant link between the theoretical knowledge and the practical applications making use of analytical calculation for the control of the results obtained with software.

Communication skills:
At the end of the course, the student should have acquired a command of the technical language to allow a proper and effective presentation of the results.
Moreover, the confidence gained through a constant connection between theoretical knowledge - structural modelling with finite-element programs - control of the results obtained with simplified analysis of the structural response, will allow the student to possess the necessary skills for results presentation.

Learning skills:
The student will have to design a reinforced concrete building and a masonry building. The revisions of the calculation reports that will be performed during the preparation of the student final exam will allow to check the ability of student learning.


It is suggested to have attended the courses of Advanced Structural Analysis and Numerical Methods for Structural Analysis.
It is useful to have knowledge of MatLab software and familiarity with commercial software based on finite element method.

Course unit content

Unit 1: Dynamic analysis of structures
Single-degree-of-freedom systems. Free-vibration response (undamped and damped vibrations). Response to harmonic, periodic, impulsive and general dynamic loading. Damping. Elastic-plastic systems.
Multi-degree-of-freedom systems. Free vibrations (natural frequencies and modes), principal coordinates. Damping matrix. Uncoupled equations of motion. Mode-superposition procedure. Methods for the step-by-step integration of the equations of motion. Non-linear systems.
Distrubuted-parameter systems. Free vibrations of beams under bending.
Discretization methods: Rayleigh-Ritz method, finite element method.
Seismic loading. Definition of response spectrum.
Dynamics of frames under seismic loading. Modal analysis of plane and space frames.

Unit 2: Seismic design of structures
Preliminary concepts of civil engineering seismology and methods of measurement of seismic motion;
Spectral response analysis: example of static and dynamic analysis for 2D frames;
Ductility, criteria for structural regularity and behaviour factors;
Capacity design approach;
Combination of the seismic action with other actions, limit state verifications;
Design and detailing of reinforced concrete frames;
Modelling of reinforced concrete frames through finite element codes;
Design and detailing of reinforced concrete wall systems;
Design and verification of foundations and diaphragms;
Existing reinforced concrete buildings: push-over analysis (theory and applications);
Design and detailing of steel moment resisting frames;
Design and detailing of steel frames with bracings;
Seismic behaviour of masonry structures;
Design and detailing of masonry buildings: theory and applications;
Out-of-plane failure mechanisms in masonry buildings: theory and applications;
Specific issues for existing and historical masonry buildings;
Characterization of soil mechanics and verifications of foundations and soil;
Design and detailing of reinforced concrete precast buildings;
Retrofitting techniques for existing precast buildings;
Current codes and calculation reports in compliance with national and regional norms.

Full programme

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Recommended textbooks:
A. CARPINTERI: “Dinamica delle strutture”, Ed. Pitagora, Bologna, 1998.
CHOPRA, A.K., “Dynamics of Structures”, Prentice-Hall International Series in Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics.
R.W. CLOUGH – J. PENZIEN: “Dynamics of structures”, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1993.
T.PAULAY, M.J.N. PRIESTLEY, "Seismic Design of Reinforced Concrete and Masonry Buildings", John Wiley & Sons, INC.
GHERSI, A. e LENZA P., Edifici antisismici in cemento armato, DARIO FLACCOVIO EDITORE, 2010.
GHERSI, A., LENZA P. e CALDERONI, B., Edifici in muratura alla luce della nuova normativa sismica, DARIO FLACCOVIO EDITORE, 2011.

Additional textbooks:
COMO, M., Statica delle costruzioni storiche in muratura, ARACNE editrice, 2011.
PODESTA’, S., Verifica sismica di edifici in muratura, DARIO FLACCOVIO EDITORE, 2012.

Teaching material available via the portal lea.unipr.it

Teaching methods

The course consists of theoretical lessons and practical exercises. For each topic, exercises are planned so that the student can deal with the resolution of the problems previously formulated in theoretical form. Some seminars are organized by inviting engineers working in the field of earthquake engineering in order to enable students to approach the professional world, which is awaiting them.
The theoretical lessons and practical exercises are carried out on the blackboard together with the showing of slides, which are available on the portal lea.unipr.it.

Assessment methods and criteria

The assessment of student learning is carried out in different ways for the two teaching units of the Course.

In the Unit 1, the assessment of student learning is formulated on the basis of a home assignment and a final written exam, weighting 15% and 35%, respectively.
The home assignment consists in setting and solving a structural dynamics problem.
The percentage of the written exam is weighted as follows:
- 20% application of the theory to exercises (applying knowledge and understanding);
- 10% theoretical questions (knowledge and understanding);
- 5% clarity of presentation (communication skills).

In the Unit 2, the students will have to design a reinforced concrete building and a masonry building. The examination consists in the presentation of the calculation reports and an oral discussion with the teacher. The level of students learning can be measured as follows:

Reinforced concrete building report: 25% divided as follows:
7.5% conceptual design;
5% skill in modelling;
5% mastery in results analysis;
5% check of numerical results with analytical calculations;
7.5% knowledge of theory.

Masonry building report: 25% divided as follows:
7.5% conceptual design;
5% skill in modelling;
5% mastery in results analysis;
5% check of numerical results with analytical calculations;
7.5% knowledge of theory.

Other information

It is strongly recommended to attend lessons.