Electrical substations and vital components, e.g., disconnect switches, experienced severe damage that caused blackouts during past earthquakes. To improve the seismic resiliency of power grids and use probabilistic decision-making frameworks, comprehensive fragility data for the different substation equipment are needed. The objective of this study is to investigate the seismic performance of and develop component and system fragility curves for a critical substation component: disconnect switches. The seismic vulnerability of two common switch types was evaluated and two operational configurations were considered. Detailed nonlinear finite element models for the full switches were calibrated using previous experimental data and used to conduct incremental dynamic analysis and carry out the fragility assessment. A total of 160 triaxial ground motions representing four sets of different ground motion characteristics were used. The switches’ fragility curves were developed and presented to be readily used for new substation design, prioritizing retrofit/maintenance activities and reliability assessment of power grids.

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