Effect of axial loads in the seismic behavior of reinforced concrete walls with unconfined wall boundaries

About 2% of Reinforced Concrete (RC) buildings taller than nine stories suffered serious damage in structural walls during the 2010 Chile earthquake. The observed damage involved mostly crushing of concrete, buckling of vertical reinforcement, and opening of the horizontal reinforcement. This damage is attributed to poor concrete confinement in the web and boundaries, inadequate horizontal reinforcement detailing, and high axial loads. This research aims to reproduce the observed damage and evaluate the influence of axial loads in the seismic behavior of RC walls with unconfined boundaries. To achieve these objectives, three identical wall specimens were tested. The wall specimens were designed with characteristic wall detailing obtained from data of five damaged buildings. These wall specimens were tested under equal lateral displacement cycles and subjected to different axial load ratios. The flexural-compressive failure mode exhibited by damaged walls during the earthquake was reproduced in these tests. Experimental results indicate that high axial load has a significant effect on the seismic performance and failure mode of RC walls. Indeed, it triggers a dangerous brittle concrete crushing failure which occurs immediately after spalling of the concrete cover. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Reinforced concrete, Axial load, Wall, Experiment, Reinforcement buckling, Seismic behavior, Failure, Shear Walls