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Frontiers of Structural and Civil Engineering

Front. Struct. Civ. Eng.    2020, Vol. 14 Issue (3) : 609-622
The use of Artificial Neural Networks to estimate seismic damage and derive vulnerability functions for traditional masonry
Tiago Miguel FERREIRA1(), João ESTÊVÃO2, Rui MAIO3, Romeu VICENTE3
1. ISISE, Institute of Science and Innovation for Bio-Sustainability (IB-S), Department of Civil Engineering, University of Minho, Guimarães 4800-058, Portugal
2. Department of Civil Engineering, University of Algarve, Faro 8005-139, Portugal
3. RISCO, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Aveiro, Aveiro 3810-193, Portugal
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This paper discusses the adoption of Artificial Intelligence-based techniques to estimate seismic damage, not with the goal of replacing existing approaches, but as a mean to improve the precision of empirical methods. For such, damage data collected in the aftermath of the 1998 Azores earthquake (Portugal) is used to develop a comparative analysis between damage grades obtained resorting to a classic damage formulation and an innovative approach based on Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs). The analysis is carried out on the basis of a vulnerability index computed with a hybrid seismic vulnerability assessment methodology, which is subsequently used as input to both approaches. The results obtained are then compared with real post-earthquake damage observation and critically discussed taking into account the level of adjustment achieved by each approach. Finally, a computer routine that uses the ANN as an approximation function is developed and applied to derive a new vulnerability curve expression. In general terms, the ANN developed in this study allowed to obtain much better approximations than those achieved with the original vulnerability approach, which has revealed to be quite non-conservative. Similarly, the proposed vulnerability curve expression was found to provide a more accurate damage prediction than the traditional analytical expressions.

Keywords Artificial Neural Networks      seismic vulnerability      masonry buildings      damage estimation      vulnerability curves     
Corresponding Author(s): Tiago Miguel FERREIRA   
Just Accepted Date: 19 April 2020   Online First Date: 25 May 2020    Issue Date: 13 July 2020
 Cite this article:   
Tiago Miguel FERREIRA,João ESTÊVÃO,Rui MAIO, et al. The use of Artificial Neural Networks to estimate seismic damage and derive vulnerability functions for traditional masonry[J]. Front. Struct. Civ. Eng., 2020, 14(3): 609-622.
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Tiago Miguel FERREIRA
geographical location observed macroseismic intensity, IEMS-98
Angústias (7/90) 7
Castelo Branco (5/90) 4 1
Cedros (6/90) 4 2
Conceição (12/90) 7 5
Feteira (5/90) 5
Flamengos (5/90) 5
Matriz (16/90) 13 3 -
Pedro Miguel (5/90) 5
Praia de Almoxarife (16/90) 5 1 10
Ribeirinha (8/90) 8
Salão (5/90) 5
number and percentage of buildings per intensity 25 (27.8%) 25 (27.8%) 25 (27.8%) 15 (16.6%)
Tab.1  Location and distribution of the assessed buildings considering the Macroseismic Intensity registered in situ
geographical location observed damage grades, Di
no damage (D0) D1 D2 D3 D4 D5
Angústias (7/90) 7
Castelo Branco (5/90) 1 3 1
Cedros (6/90) 3 3
Conceição (12/90) 1 4 5 2
Feteira (5/90) 2 1 1 1
Flamengos (5/90) 3 0 2
Matriz (16/90) 1 13 2
Pedro Miguel (5/90) 2 3
Praia de Almoxarife (16/90) 2 3 4 7
Ribeirinha (8/90) 1 2 1 4
Salão (5/90) 1 1 1 2
number and percentage of buildings 4 (4.4%) 32 (35.6%) 22 (24.4%) 16 (17.8%) 6 (6.7%) 10 (11.1%)
Tab.2  Location and distribution of the assessed buildings considering their observed damage grades
parameters vulnerability class cvi weight,
relative weight
Group 1. structural building system P1 Type of resisting system 0 5 20 50 2.50 50/100
P2 Quality of resisting system 0 5 20 50 2.50
P3 Conventional strength 0 5 20 50 1.00
P4 Maximum distance between walls 0 5 20 50 0.50
P5 Number of floors 0 5 20 50 0.50
P6 Location and soil conditions 0 5 20 50 0.50
Group 2. irregularities and interactions P7 Aggregate position and interaction 0 5 20 50 1.50 20/100
P8 Plan configuration 0 5 20 50 0.50
P9 Height regularity 0 5 20 50 0.50
P10 Wall facade openings and alignments 0 5 20 50 0.50
Group 3. floor slabs and roofs P11 Horizontal diaphragms 0 5 20 50 0.75 18/100
P12 Roofing system 0 5 20 50 2.00
Group 4. conservation status and other elements P13 Fragilities and conservation status 0 5 20 50 1.00 12/100
P14 Non-structural elements 0 5 20 50 0.75
Tab.3  Vulnerability index parameters, classes and weights, adapted from [13].
Fig.1  Observed versus estimated discrete damage grade distributions, using the vulnerability index approach.
Fig.2  Confront between observed mean damage grades and the vulnerability functions for intensities: (a) IEMS - 98 = V; (b) VI; (c) VII; (d) VIII.
Fig.3  Relative deviation between observed and estimated damage, using the vulnerability index approach: (a) for each building assessed; and (b) histogram with best-fit Gaussian curve.
Fig.4  ANN inspired from human synapse.
Fig.5  Single artificial neuron representation.
Fig.6  Adopted ANN architecture.
Fig.7  Observed versus estimated mean damage grade distributions, resorting to the ANN.
Fig.8  Observed mean damage grades versus ANN-derived vulnerability functions: (a) IEMS-98 = V; (b) IEMS-98 = VI; (c) IEMS-98 = VII; (d) IEMS-98 = VIII.
Fig.9  Relative deviation between observed and estimated damage, resorting to the ANN: (a) for each building assessed; and (b) histogram with best-fit Gaussian curve.
Fig.10  Analytical vulnerability function for different macroseismic intensities.
Fig.11  Comparison between observed and estimated damage resorting to Eqs. (11) and (2) for macroseismic intensities: (a) IEMS-98 = V; (b) IEMS-98 = VI; (c) IEMS-98 = VII; and (d) IEMS-98 = VIII.
Fig.12  Vulnerability curves for different vulnerability index values, Iv.
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