AbstractThis paper presents full-scale experiments and computational analyses on exposed column–base plate connections with ductile anchors. The aim is to examine the seismic performance of these connections for their prospective use as weak bases, wherein steel moment frames are designed to concentrate inelastic rotations in the base connections rather than in the connected columns. The connections feature upset thread anchor rods in which the threads are milled to a smooth shank, providing a designated stretch length over which inelastic deformations may be concentrated. The shank is frictionally isolated from the footing using polyethylene tape. The four full-scale experiments investigate the effects of axial force, rod diameter, and rod material grade. The test specimens withstand (without anchor rod failure) the application of two Applied Technology Council–the Joint Venture partners of the Structural Engineers Association of California, the Applied Technology Council, and the Consortium of Universities for Research in Earthquake Engineering (ATC-SAC) protocols applied consecutively (each to drift amplitudes of 5%), followed by additional cycles to 6.5% drift amplitude. Complementary line element–based and continuum finite-element simulations are conducted to examine to what extent the experimentally observed response may be generalized to untested configurations. Implications for design are summarized, along with the limitations of the study.

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