Columns designed and built according to older standards may be subject to damage due to seismic loading during earthquakes as a result of the lack of shear reinforcement and/or insufficient lap-splice length. An experimental program on the use of ifill RC walls in seismic retrofit of RC frames under cyclic loading was conducted in 2002. The output of this experimental work formed the basis for the validation of a numerical finite element model, in predicting forces and displacements. Subsequently the finite element model was used to perform a parametric analysis on the effects of the thickness, overall reinforcement and concrete strength of the infill wall on the seismic strength of the overall system. There was no evidence that the percentage of steel reinforcement in the infill wall had a measurable effect on its seismic behavior. The minimum thickness of the wall to achieve the desired seismic strength of the frame-wall system was determined and illustrated by an empirical formula. The effect of the amount of the steel in the columns on the seismic strength of the system is significant but its effect on the cracking patterns in the wall has been proven to be small. The strength of concrete of the wall had a varying effect on the overall seismic strength of the wall which has also been illustrated in an empirical formula. The developed finite element model has been proven successful in modeling the major characteristics of the wall-frame system, and therefore, can be applied as a tool for an effective design of such a seismic strengthening system.


Construction Engineering Department

Degree Name

MS in Construction Engineering

Date of Award


Online Submission Date

February 2013

First Advisor

Haroun, Medhat

Committee Member 1

Haroun, Medhat

Document Type



67 p.


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