Low-seismic damage strategies for infilled RC frames: shake-table tests

Hanhui Zhang, J. S. Kuang, Yu Ping Yuen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Unreinforced masonry (URM) infill panels are widely used as partitions in RC frames and typically considered as non-structural elements in the design process. However, observations from recent major earthquakes have shown that under seismic excitation, the structural interaction between columns and infill walls can significantly alter the structural behaviour, thus causing catastrophic consequences. The purpose of this research was to propose and test an innovative low seismic damage detailing method, which isolates the infill panel from bounding columns with finite width vertical gaps during the infill panel construction phase and deploys steel wire connections in mortar layers anchored to columns. Taking into account the similitude requirements, a total of six one-third scale, single-storey single-bay RC frames with different infill configurations and flexible connection details were carefully designed and tested on a shake-table. Three real earthquake records were selected and scaled to ascending intensity levels and used as input signals. A series of thorough investigations including dynamic characteristics, hysteretic behaviour, failure mechanisms, out-of-plane vulnerabilities and the effect of different gap filling materials and load transfer mechanisms were rigorously studied. The experimental results indicate that the undesirable interaction between infill panels and bounding frame is significantly reduced using the proposed low seismic damage detailing concept. Direct shear failure of columns at an early stage is prevented, and structural redundancy at high levels of excitation can be provided. In general, the structural stability and integrity, and displacement ductility of infilled RC frames can remarkably be improved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2419-2438
Number of pages20
JournalEarthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics
Issue number14
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2017


  • anchorage
  • masonry infill
  • reinforced concrete
  • shaking table test

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