Seismic vulnerability of reinforced concrete building structures founded on an XPS layer

  • Koren, David ;
  • Kilar, Vojko
  • Received : 2015.05.05
  • Accepted : 2015.12.23
  • Published : 2016.04.25


According to the new directives about the rational and efficient use of energy, thermal bridges in buildings have to be avoided, and the thermal insulation (TI) layer should run without interruptions all around the building - even under its foundations. The paper deals with the seismic response of multi-storeyed reinforced concrete (RC) frame building structures founded on an extruded polystyrene (XPS) layer placed beneath the foundation slab. The purpose of the paper is to elucidate the problem of buildings founded on a TI layer from the seismic resistance point of view, to assess the seismic behaviour of such buildings, and to search for the critical parameters which can affect the structural and XPS layer response. Nonlinear dynamic and static analyses were performed, and the seismic response of fixed-base (FB) and thermally insulated (TI) variants of nonlinear RC building models were compared. Soil-structure interaction was also taken into account for different types of soil. The results showed that the use of a TI layer beneath the foundation slab of a superstructure generally induces a higher peak response compared to that of a corresponding system without TI beneath the foundation slab. In the case of stiff structures located on firm soil, amplification of the response might be substantial and could result in exceedance of the superstructure's moment-rotation plastic hinge capacities or allowable lateral roof and interstorey drift displacements. In the case of heavier, slenderer, and higher buildings subjected to stronger seismic excitations, the overall response is governed by the rocking mode of oscillation, and as a consequence the compressive strength of the XPS could be insufficient. On the other hand, in the case of low-rise and light-weight buildings, the friction capacity between the layers of the applied TI foundation set might be exceeded so that sliding could occur.


foundation on thermal insulation;extruded polystyrene (XPS);seismic response;RC structure;soil-structure interaction;nonlinear seismic analysis


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Supported by : Slovenian Research Agency