The solution of the nonlinear dynamic equilibrium equations of base-isolated structures adopting a conventional monolithic solution approach, i.e. an implicit single-step time integration method employed with an iteration procedure, and the use of existing nonlinear analytical models, such as differential equation models, to simulate the dynamic behavior of seismic isolators can require a significant computational effort. In order to reduce numerical computations, a partitioned solution method and a one dimensional nonlinear analytical model are presented in this paper. A partitioned solution approach can be easily applied to base-isolated structures in which the base isolation system is much more flexible than the superstructure. Thus, in this work, the explicit conditionally stable central difference method is used to evaluate the base isolation system nonlinear response and the implicit unconditionally stable Newmark’s constant average acceleration method is adopted to predict the superstructure linear response with the benefit in avoiding iterations in each time step of a nonlinear dynamic analysis. The proposed mathematical model is able to simulate the dynamic behavior of seismic isolators without requiring the solution of a nonlinear differential equation, as in the case of widely used differential equation model. The proposed mixed explicit-implicit time integration method and nonlinear exponential model are adopted to analyze a three dimensional seismically isolated structure with a lead rubber bearing system subjected to earthquake excitation. The numerical results show the good accuracy and the significant computational efficiency of the proposed solution approach and analytical model compared to the conventional solution method and mathematical model adopted in this work. Furthermore, the low stiffness value of the base isolation system with lead rubber bearings allows to have a critical time step considerably larger than the imposed ground acceleration time step, thus avoiding stability problems in the proposed mixed method.
The nonlinear time history analysis of seismically base-isolated structures can require a significant computational effort when the behavior of each seismic isolator is predicted by adopting the widely used differential equation Bouc-Wen model. In this paper, a nonlinear exponential model, able to simulate the response of seismic isolation bearings within a relatively large displacements range, is described and adopted in order to reduce the numerical computations and speed up the nonlinear dynamic analysis. Compared to the Bouc-Wen model, the proposed one does not require the numerical solution of a nonlinear differential equation for each time step of the analysis. The seismic response of a 3d base-isolated structure with a lead rubber bearing system subjected to harmonic earthquake excitation is simulated by modeling each isolator using the proposed analytical model. The comparison of the numerical results and computational time with those obtained by modeling the lead rubber bearings using the Bouc-Wen model demonstrates the good accuracy of the proposed model and its capability to reduce significantly the computational effort of the analysis.