Numerical Analysis of Reinforced Masonry Shear Walls Using the Nonlinear Truss Approach

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Virginia Tech


Reinforced masonry (RM) shear walls are a common lateral load-resisting system for building structures. The seismic design guidelines for such systems are based on relatively limited experimental data. Given the restrictions imposed by the capabilities of available experimental equipment, analytical modeling is the only means to conduct systematic parametric studies for prototype RM wall systems and quantify the seismic safety offered by current design standards. A number of modeling approaches, with varying levels of complexity, have been used for the analysis of reinforced concrete (RC) and masonry wall structures. Among the various methods, the truss analogy is deemed attractive for its conceptual simplicity and excellent accuracy, as indicated by recent studies focusing on RC walls.

This thesis uses an existing modeling method, based on nonlinear truss models, to simulate the behavior of fully grouted reinforced masonry shear walls. The modeling method, which was originally created and used for RC walls, is enhanced to capture the effect of localized sliding along the base of a wall, which may be the dominant mode of damage for several types of RM walls. The truss modeling approach is validated with the results of quasi-static cyclic tests on single-story isolated walls and dynamic tests on a multi-story, three-dimensional wall system. For the latter, the truss model is found to give similar results to those obtained using a much more refined, three-dimensional finite element model, while requiring a significantly smaller amount of time for the analysis.

Finally, truss models are used for the nonlinear static analysis of prototype low-rise walls, which had been analyzed with nonlinear beam models during a previous research project. The comparison of the results obtained with the two modeling methods indicates that the previously employed beam models may significantly overestimate the ductility capacity of RM squat walls, due to their inability to accurately capture the shear-flexure interaction and the effect of shear damage on the strength of a wall.



reinforced masonry, shear wall, shear failure, numerical analysis, nonlinear truss models