In the present study, the question of inelastic p–Δ effects is examined from the perspective of inelastic spectral ordinates. Inelastic acceleration response spectra are generated using a model which includes the effects of gravity; for each spectrum the ductility factor and the gravity load level (characterized by the stability coefficient) are held constant. Amplification spectra are generated by taking the ratio between spectra with and without gravity effects. The results are analysed statistically and a formula for the amplification factor as a function of the relevant parameters is obtained. Special care is taken to present a formulation that is simple and useful in the context of practical earthquake engineering design.

Some currently used p–Δ amplification factors are discussed in the light of the results obtained.