Engineers prepare to test masonry shear walls’ seismic performance

Source: University of California, San Diego

A full-scale, two-story masonry shear wall system will be tested in late August on the outdoor shake table at the Englekirk Structural Engineering Center of UCSD.

It will be the second and final structure tested at the facility under a National Institute of Standards & Technology research project aimed at a) measuring fully-grouted, reinforced masonry structures’ seismic performance; and, b) developing improved methodologies, detailing requirements, and analytical methods for their design and performance assessment.

Current design methods and code requirements for reinforced masonry structures are not entirely rational and practical for low-rise buildings that have walls with many openings, Englekirk Center officials contend. The first structure tested on the shake table was a three-story wall system designed according to current ASCE/SEI 7 and MSJC provisions. The second structure has shear-critical wall elements and is designed with a displacement-based approach to circumvent the deficiencies of current codes for this kind of system.

The shake-table tests have been made possible with support from the National Scienc Foundation’s Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation, which funds the operations and maintenance of the Large High-Performance Outdoor Shake Table at UCSD. The test are scheduled to August 28 and last two weeks.  —