Damage mitigation strategies for non-structural infill walls.
Thesis DisciplineCivil Engineering
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
In most design codes, infill walls are considered as non-structural elements and thus are typically neglected in the design process. The observations made after major earthquakes (Duzce 1999, L’Aquila 2009, Christchurch 2011) have shown that even though infill walls are considered to be non-structural elements, they interact with the structural system during seismic actions. In the case of heavy infill walls (i.e. clay brick infill walls), the whole behaviour of the structure may be affected by this interaction (i.e. local or global structural failures such as soft storey mechanism). In the case of light infill walls (i.e. non-structural drywalls), this may cause significant economical losses. To consider the interaction of the structural system with the ‘non-structural ’infill walls at design stage may not be a practical approach due to the complexity of the infill wall behaviour. Therefore, the purpose of the reported research is to develop innovative technological solutions and design recommendations for low damage non-structural wall systems for seismic actions by making use of alternative approaches.
Light (steel/timber framed drywalls) and heavy (unreinforced clay brick) non-structural infill wall systems were studied by following an experimental/numerical research programme. Quasi-static reverse cyclic tests were carried out by utilizing a specially designed full scale reinforced concrete frame, which can be used as a re-usable bare frame. In this frame, two RC beams and two RC columns were connected by two un-bonded post tensioning bars, emulating a jointed ductile frame system (PRESSS technology). Due to the rocking behaviour at the beam-column joint interfaces, this frame was typically a low damage structural solution, with the post-tensioning guaranteeing a linear elastic behaviour. Therefore, this frame could be repeatedly used in all of the tests carried out by changing only the infill walls within this frame. Due to the linear elastic behaviour of this structural bare frame, it was possible to extract the exact behaviour of the infill walls from the global results. In other words, the only parameter that affected the global results was given by the infill walls.
For the test specimens, the existing practice of construction (as built) for both light and heavy non-structural walls was implemented. In the light of the observations taken during these tests, modified low damage construction practices were proposed and tested. In total, seven tests were carried out:
1) Bare frame , in order to confirm its linear elastic behaviour. 2) As built steel framed drywall specimen FIF1-STFD (Light) 3) As built timber framed drywall specimen FIF2-TBFD (Light) 4) As built unreinforced clay brick infill wall specimen FIF3-UCBI (Heavy) 5) Low damage steel framed drywall specimen MIF1-STFD (Light) 6) Low damage timber framed drywall specimen MIF2-TBFD (Light) 7) Low damage unreinforced clay brick infill wall specimen MIF5-UCBI (Heavy)
The tests of the as built practices showed that both drywalls and unreinforced clay brick infill walls have a low serviceability inter-storey drift limit (0.2-0.3%). Based on the observations, simple modifications and details were proposed for the low damage specimens. The details proved to be working effectively in lowering the damage and increasing the serviceability drift limits. For drywalls, the proposed low damage solutions do not introduce additional cost, material or labour and they are easily applicable in real buildings. For unreinforced clay brick infill walls, a light steel sub-frame system was suggested that divides the infill panel zone into smaller individual panels, which requires additional labour and some cost. However, both systems can be engineered for seismic actions and their behaviour can be controlled by implementing the proposed details. The performance of the developed details were also confirmed by the numerical case study analyses carried out using Ruaumoko 2D on a reinforced concrete building model designed according to the NZ codes/standards. The results have confirmed that the implementation of the proposed low damage solutions is expected to significantly reduce the non-structural infill wall damage throughout a building.