Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction


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A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Architectural Engineering, Under the Supervision of Professor Ece Erdogmus. Lincoln, Nebraska: August, 2015

Copyright 2015 Cody Buckley


The design and erection of columns in classical Greece and Rome was a deceptively complicated task. Ancient engineers were not guided by a set of building codes, resulting in several regional design variations. The writer Vitruvius condensed these variations into three archetypes or “orders” defined by proportions based on an arbitrary “module”.

The goal of this thesis is to better understand the effect of these proportions on the seismic response of ancient columns through the use of Equivalent Lateral Force Procedure and finite element analysis software. To this end, a parametric study of linearly elastic, free-standing columns with homogeneous material properties was conducted. This study considered five typical columns per classical order. Dynamic analysis showed noticeable effects on natural circular frequency (ωn) and mode of vibration (φn) due to both column order and slenderness ratio. Static analysis showed that the deformed shape and location of maximum stress was similar for all test columns.

This newfound understanding was utilized in a case study of the Temple of Antioch ad Cragum front façade. This Corinthian order, pro-style temple: dates back to 1-3rd century AD; is located near modern day Güney Village, Turkey; and is currently being excavated and considered for a partial reconstruction. Dynamic analyses showed that fixed entablature-column connections, similar to ancient clamp connections, cause the frame to act more rigidly as opposed to pinned connections. Static analyses further illustrated the rigidity of the frame with fixed connections as it tended to resist seismic forces as a single rigid body. The pinned connections allowed for columns to more evenly resist seismic forces.

This study includes several assumptions in order to limit discussion to the effect of geometric proportions on the seismic behavior of ancient columns. The author has reviewed several studies that have approached the analysis of nonlinear, rigid body motion, but none have fully investigated the relationship between seismic behavior and classical order. This thesis is to serve as a basis for future investigation of this relationship under true dry stack conditions.

Advisor: Ece Erdogmus