Catastrophic failure of the above ground steel storage tanks was observed during past earthquakes, which caused serious economic and environmental consequences. Many of the existing tanks were designed in the past with outdated analysis methods and with underestimated seismic loads. Therefore, the evaluation of the seismic vulnerability of these tanks, especially ones located in seismic prone areas, is extremely important. Seismic fragility functions are useful tools to quantify the seismic vulnerability of structures in the framework of probabilistic seismic risk assessment. These functions give the probability that a seismic demand on a given structural component meets or exceeds its capacity. The objective of this study is to examine the seismic vulnerability of an unanchored steel storage tank, considering the uncertainty of modeling parameters that are related to material and geometric properties of the tank. The significance of uncertain modeling parameters is first investigated with a screening study, which is based on nonlinear static pushover analyses of the tank using the abaqus software. In this respect, a fractional factorial design and an analysis of variance (ANOVA) have been adopted. The results indicate that the considered modeling parameters have significant effects on the uplift behavior of the tank. The fragility curves of two critical failure modes, i.e., the buckling of the shell plate and the plastic rotation of the shell-to-bottom plate joint, are then developed based on a simplified model of the tank, where the uplift behavior is correctly modeled from the static pushover analysis. The uncertainty associated with the significant parameters previously identified are considered in the fragility analysis using a sampling procedure to generate statistically significant samples of the model. The relative importance of different treatment levels of the uncertainty on the fragility curves of the tank is assessed and discussed in detail.

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