Experimental Investigation and Numerical Simulation of an Unreinforced Masonry Structure with Flexible Diaphragms
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Unreinforced masonry (URM) construction, which has been widely used in the United States, presents a large threat to life safety and regional economic development because of its poor seismic resistance. In this research, the nonlinear seismic properties of URM structures were investigated via a quasi-static test of a full-scale two-story URM building and associated analytical and numerical studies. The tests of the 24ft. by 24ft. in plan 22ft. high URM building revealed that the damage was characterized by (1) the formation of large discrete cracks in the masonry walls and (2) the rocking and sliding of URM piers. Both of these results were consistent with the predictions based on individual component properties obtained in previous research. However, the tests also revealed significant global behavior phenomena, including flange effects, overturning moment effects, and the formation of different effective piers in a perforated wall. This global behavior greatly affected the response of the URM building tested. In order to understand the nonlinear behavior of the test structure, a series of analytical studies were conducted. First, at the material level, a mechanical key model was proposed to describe the failure of URM assemblages under a biaxial state of stress. Second, at the component level, an effective pier model was developed to illustrate the mixed failure modes of a URM pier and its nonlinear force-deformation relationship. Third, at the structure level, a nonlinear pushover model was built using the mechanical models at the material and component levels to describe the nonlinear properties of a URM building. This nonlinear pushover model and a three-dimensional finite element model were employed to analyze the test structure. Both gave results in good agreement with the test data. Improvements to current provisions for the evaluation of existing masonry structures were proposed.