Nonlinear dynamic analysis techniques have made significant progress in the last 20 years, providing powerful tools for assessing structural damage and potential building collapse mechanisms. The fact that several reinforced concrete shear wall residential buildings underwent severe structural damage in walls at the lower building levels during the 2010 Maule earthquake (Chile) presents a scientific opportunity to assess the predictive quality of these techniques. The objective of this research is to compare building responses using two completely different three-dimensional nonlinear dynamic models and study in detail the observed damage pattern and wall collapse of one reinforced concrete shear wall building in Santiago, Chile. The first model is a mixed fiber-shell model developed in MATLAB, and the second is a shell finite element model developed in the software DIANA. Results of both models are consistent with the hypothesis that high axial loads trigger a limited ductility failure in critical walls at roof-to-base drift ratios less than 0.34% with little capacity of hysteretic energy dissipation, which contradicts the ductile design philosophy of current code provisions.

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