BUILDING’S MASS AND DUCTILITY OF THE STRUCTURAL FRAME

From Newton’s second law of motion, the other factor that affects the magnitude of the earthquake load is the weight of the building. Lighter buildings attract a smaller earthquake load than buildings constructed of heavy materials. Thus, concrete frame and masonry structures attract a greater earthquake load than wood frame or steel frame structures. Residential structures with wood siding or stucco finishes attract a smaller earthquake load than those with brick or stone veneer.

Indeed, because of its light weight, the earthquake load on a tent is negligible even in a severe earthquake, Figure 3.22. A tent structure has the additional advantage of its built-in resistance toabsorb structural deformations (ductility)—an important structural property for earthquake regions.
Buildings constructed of heavy materials with little or no capacity to absorb deformations are among the most hazardous buildings in a seismically active zone. Such buildings include those whose structural system consists of unreinforced masonry structures (i.e., bricks, stone or concrete block walls with no vertical rein-forcement), Figure 3.23.

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