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Nonlinear shear response of cantilever reinforced concrete shear walls with floor slabs Mercer, Stephen Sterling


The nonlinear shear behaviour of cantilever reinforced concrete shear walls is complex and not fully understood. Design assumptions often oversimplify the wall response and can yield results which do not reflect the true response of the shear wall. One such assumption is analyzing the wall ignoring the effects from multiple floor slabs connected to the wall over its height. Floor slabs can provide a significant increase in wall shear capacity. This thesis examines the nonlinear shear response of walls, including the effect of floor slabs as a wall-slab system, through state-of-the-art nonlinear finite element analysis. Finite element slab models were developed to emulate the 3D slab effect within a 2D analysis environment: a high-end pseudo 3D model for in-depth slab analysis and a simple 2D slab layer model for typical wall analysis. The slab effects are explored through a parametric study varying the wall size, concrete strength, axial load, horizontal steel ratio and the slab dimensions parallel and perpendicular to the wall. The slabs were found to act like large external stirrups which provide additional tension capacity for the slab and limit shear cracking and failure. The slabs can significantly increase the shear capacity of lightly-reinforced walls. Using the developed slab models, the bounds of the slab effect were investigated by a parametric study with lightly to heavily-reinforced walls, with and without axial load, as well as varying the slab spacing. Within this study, the nonlinear response of isolated walls is compared to nonlinear uniformly-loaded membrane models. It is determined that although code-based shear capacity equations are fairly accurate, the membrane models can underestimate the shear stiffness and over predict the ductility. This study also reveals that tightly spaced slabs can increase up to 3 times the isolated wall capacity for walls with minimum horizontal steel, whereas there is little effect for walls with horizontal steel above 1%. Finally, methods were developed to predict the nonlinear shear stress-strain response of isolated walls and the peak shear capacity of wall-slab systems.

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