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Nonlinear Analysis of Squat RC Walls Using Three-Dimensional Continuum


Finite Element Models
J. Murcia-Delso1; R. S. Dunham2; D. R. Parker3; and R. J. James4
1

Tecnalia, Parque Cientfico y Tecnolgico de Bizkaia, Edificio 700, Derio 48160,


Spain. E-mail: juan.murcia@tecnalia.com
2
ANATECH Corp., 5435 Oberlin Dr., San Diego, CA 92121. E-mail:
bob.dunham@anatech.com
3
ANATECH Corp., 5435 Oberlin Dr., San Diego, CA 92121. E-mail:
dan.parker@anatech.com
4
ANATECH Corp., 5435 Oberlin Dr., San Diego, CA 92121. E-mail:
randy.james@anatech.com
Abstract
This paper presents the three-dimensional finite element analysis of squat RC walls
using a continuum constitutive model for concrete developed at ANATECH. The
concrete model is based on the smeared-cracking concept and an elastic-plastic
formulation that permits the simulation of cracking and other particular response
characteristics of concrete. The laws governing the normal and tangential stresses on
a crack are suitable for the simulation of shear failures and crack closing and reopening under load reversals. Finite element models have been developed to
reproduce experiments on squat walls found in the literature. These tests were
conducted on walls with rectangular and non-rectangular sections subjected to cyclic
lateral loading. The finite element models provide a good representation of the
nonlinear response and shear failure of these walls. Results of a blind simulation of a
five-story shear wall building tested on a shake-table, in which a diagonal shear
failure was well predicted, are also presented.
INTRODUCTION
Reinforced concrete (RC) shear walls are commonly used as lateral-force resisting
systems in buildings. RC walls can have a flexural-dominated or shear-dominated
behavior depending on their aspect ratio, axial load, and reinforcement
characteristics. Squat walls with low aspect ratio (height-to-length ratio less than 2),
high axial loads, and heavily reinforced in flexure tend to behave in shear. These
walls may experience diagonal tension failure when there is not sufficient horizontal
shear reinforcement. When adequately reinforced to constraint the opening of
diagonal cracks, failure may occur by crushing of the concrete due to diagonal

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compression forces or sliding shear. Even though ductile design principles and
practices are intended to ensure flexural behavior of these elements, it is difficult to
preclude the shear-dominated behavior of squat walls in short buildings and squat
wall segments in taller buildings for walls with strong coupling effects or openings. In
addition, existing buildings constructed before ductile design practices were
implemented are likely to have shear-critical walls.
Performance-based seismic design and assessment of buildings relies on the use of
analytical models that can accurately predict their structural response. Modeling the
nonlinear behavior of squat walls is a challenging task because of their sheardominated behavior. Diagonal and sliding shear-resisting mechanisms in RC walls
are commonly represented by approximate phenomenological models derived from
experimental data. For example, ASCE 41-13 (ASCE 2013) provides lateral force
deformation backbone curves for shear-critical wall segments and coupling beams.
However, these curves have been calibrated with limited test data. The use of highfidelity finite element models that capture the mechanics of shear failures in RC
structures are a versatile and more realistic alternative to phenomenological models.
They are also an inexpensive complement to the laboratory tests allowed by ASCE 41
to derive case-specific backbone curves for the application of this standard.
This paper presents the three-dimensional nonlinear analysis of RC shear walls using
an advanced constitutive model for concrete developed at ANATECH. The salient
features of the constitutive model and the results of finite element analyses of
laboratory tests on RC walls are presented. The tests analyzed include rectangular and
non-rectangular walls subjected to quasi-static cyclic loading which failed in shear,
and a five-story shear wall building tested on a shake-table.
CONCRETE CONSTITUTIVE MODEL
The behavior of concrete is highly nonlinear with small tensile strengths, shear
stiffness and strength that depend on crack widths, and compressive capacity
degradation after the compressive strength is reached. Modeling concrete, especially
under conditions where extensive damage can develop, requires advanced and
detailed constitutive models. In response to this need, ANATECH has developed and
refined over the past decades a constitutive model that is based on the pioneering
work on smeared-crack models by Rashid (1968). This concrete model has been
extensively used to predict the nonlinear behavior of RC structures in nuclear
facilities and critical civil infrastructure, and has been validated with data from largescale tests (e.g., Rashid et al. 2001). The main features of the constitutive model are
presented in the following.
In compression, concrete has an elastic-plastic behavior. The uniaxial stress-strain
behavior obtained from material test data is generalized to multi-axial behavior with
an isotropic-hardening plasticity formulation, using a Drucker-Prager surface to
represent the yield condition. A non-associated plastic flow rule is defined to control

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the plastic dilattation of con


ncrete. This formulationn is well suitted for low tto moderate
con
nfinement sttress levels, which typiifies the behhavior of ciivil structurres. Typical
uniaxial stress--strain curvees for concreete under m
monotonic coompression sshow linear
beh
havior up to about 50% of
o its uniaxiaal compressiive strength.. For stressess above this
leveel, the mateerial exhibitts strain harrdening untiil it reachess its ultimatte strength.
Wh
hen the com
mpressive strains
s
are increased ffurther, dam
mage due tto crushing
con
ntinues to acccumulate, thus
t
causing
g rapid strainn softening. Figure 1(a)) shows the
straain hardening
g and soften
ning behavior of the moddel for unconnfined uniaxxial loading.
Forr cyclic load
ding, nonlineear unloadin
ng and reloadding paths aare defined tto represent
the actual hysteeretic respon
nse of the maaterial, as shoown in Figuure 1(b).

(a) mo
onotonic load
ding

(b) cycllic loading

Figure 1. Uniaxia
al Compresssion Behaviior
In tension, craacking is treeated at thee element inntegration ppoints using a smeared
craccking appro
oach. Crackss are assumed to form perpendicullar to the diirections off
larg
gest tensile strains
s
that exceed
e
the cracking
c
critterion. Multiple cracks aare allowed
to form,
f
but theey are consttrained to bee mutually orrthogonal. O
Once a crackk forms, the
norrmal stress iss reduced with
w the crack
k opening, aas shown in Figure 2(a)). The shear
stifffness and sttress on the crack surfacce are also rreduced upoon cracking and further
deccay as the craack opens. Once
O
a crack
k forms, the ddirection of the crack rem
mains fixed
and
d can never heal. Howeever, a cracck can closee, resist com
mpression, aand re-open
und
der load reveersals.
Thee cracking crriterion used
d in the mod
del is illustrat
ated in Figuree 2(b). Cracking occurs
wheen the statee defined by
y the maxim
mum princiipal strain aand stress eexceeds the
diag
gonal criterrion line. Cracking
C
of biaxial andd triaxial sttress states are treated
con
nsistently wiith the uniax
xial crackin
ng criteria, bbut they occcur at a sligghtly higher
streess and sligh
htly lower sttrain. Split crracking occuurs at near zzero stress aand a tensile
straain approxim
mately twice that of uniaaxial tensile ccracking. Thhis agrees w
well with the
obsserved behav
vior of concrrete test speccimens.

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(a) uniax
xial tension behavior

(b) crack innitiation critterion

Figure 2. Cracking
C
Beehavior
An important modeling
m
co
onsideration for crackedd concrete iss the treatmeent of shear
streesses across cracks. Thee shear resisstance can bbe significanntly reducedd as a crack
opeens, but can be
b recovered
d once the crrack closes. Capturing thhis behaviorr is essential
for the analysiis of shear-d
dominated walls.
w
The ssurfaces of cracks in cconcrete are
usu
ually rough and irregullar. When a shear forcce is applied along a ccrack, both
tang
gential shear sliding and normaal displacem
ments resullt. When tthe normal
disp
placement iss restrained by
b reinforcin
ng bars crosssing the craack, tensile sstresses will
dev
velop in the reinforcemeent, which will
w then induuce compresssive stressess across the
cracck. The resiistance to sliding is pro
ovided by thhe frictional force generrated by the
com
mpressive stress across the crack. In
n order to ttake the sheaar stiffness of concrete
into
o account in
n the model, a reduced shear moduulus is retainned in the sstress-strain
mattrix. Al-Mah
haidi (1979) suggests a hyperbolic
h
vvariation of tthe shear moodulus with
the strain norm
mal to the craack, and a vaariation of thhis is used inn the concrette model, as
illu
ustrated in Fiigure 3.

Figure 3.. Modeling of Interfacee Shear Traansfer


In addition,
a
thee model is eq
quipped with a shear shhedding featuure to limit the buildup
of shear stress across an
n open cracck. The shhear retentioon model rreduces the

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incrremental sh
hear modulu
us across an
n open crackk as discusssed earlier. The shear
streesses that caan be accom
mmodated accross an op en crack alsso reduce aas the crack
con
ntinues to op
pen. Since cracks
c
form
m in the prinncipal strainn directions there is, in
gen
neral, no sheear across a crack
c
when it first openns. Figure 4 illustrates thhe behavior
of shear
s
stress capacity in cracked con
ncrete for a tight crackk, for exampple cracking
welll controlled by reinforceement, comp
pared to a cr ack that conntinues to open.

S
Capaacity for Open Cracks
Figure 4. Illusstration of Shear
FIN
NITE ELEM
MENT ANA
ALYSIS OF RC SHEAR
R WALLS
Thee capability of the conccrete model presented inn this paperr to predict the seismic
beh
havior of sh
hear-dominatted RC wallls has beenn verified w
with experim
mental data
obtained from select tests conducted
c
by
b Hidalgo eet al. (2002)), Orakcal ett al. (2009),
and
d Palermo an
nd Vecchio (2002) on sq
quat wall coomponents ssubjected to quasi-static
cycclic lateral loading.
l
FE models of these tests have been developed in Abaqus
(Daassault Systeemes 2014) with
w the con
ncrete modell implementeed in a user subroutine.
Steel reinforcem
ment has beeen modeled
d with a coonstitutive m
model that aaccounts for
b
of steel
s
and bon
nd-slip behavvior. The cooncrete and ssteel models
elasstic-plastic behavior
hav
ve been calib
brated to th
he material strength
s
dataa reported in the tests. The model
parrameters indeependent of the material strength havve been keptt constant.
dalgo et al. (2002) tested
d full-scale squat
s
wall seegments withh the rotation of the top
Hid
and
d bottom ends restrained
d. These tessts providedd fundamenttal data on tthe strength
deteerioration and
a
deformaation capacitty of shear--dominated rectangularr walls that
hav
ve been used
d to develop
p the force-d
displacement
nt relations oof ASCE 41-13 (ASCE
201
13, Elwood et
e al. 2007). The effectiv
ve aspect rattio (ratio of shear span tto depth) off
the test specim
mens varied between 0.3
35 and 1.000. All the w
walls experieenced shear
d
craccking. The F
FE analysis rresults of Sppecimens 23
faillures caused by severe diagonal
and
d 24 as identified by Hid
dalgo et al. (2
2002) are preesented in F
Figure 5. Botth walls had
bou
undary reinfforcement to
o preclude flexural
f
failuure. In addittion, Specim
men 23 had
disttributed horrizontal rein
nforcement, and Speciimen 24 haad distributted vertical
rein
nforcement.

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(a) lateral force vs. dissplacement for


fo
Specimen 23
2

((b) lateral forrce vs. displlacement forr


S
Specimen 244

(cc) maximum
m principal sttrains at the peak
p
displacement of Sp
pecimen 23

((d) maximum
m principal sstrains at thee
peak displaccement of Sppecimen 24

w
tested
d by Hidalgoo et al. (20022)
Figurre 5. Analyssis of shear walls
As shown in Fiigure 5(a), th
he analysis results
r
matcch very well the force-diisplacement
relaations obtained experim
mentally for Specimenn 23, includding the laateral force
cap
pacity and deeterioration. The model is able to caapture the seevere pinchinng behavior
obsserved in thee tests, whicch is caused by the openning and cloosing of diagonal shear
craccks. The disstributed horizontal steeel reinforcem
ment in Speecimen 23 restrains the
opeening of thee crack and
d contributes to maintaaining the sshear resistaance of the
con
ncrete acrosss the crack. For this reeason, there is no abruppt decay off the lateral
cap
pacity of thee wall. As shown in Figure
F
5(b), Specimen 224 has a loower lateral
streength and a more brittle behavior th
han Specimeen 23. This iis due to thee absence off
horrizontal sheaar reinforcem
ment. The mo
odel is capab
able of prediccting this tenndency, but
it underestimate
u
es the load deterioration
d
n rate. Figuree 5 also show
ws the deforrmed shapes
and
d contour plo
ots with the maximum
m
principal straains in the cooncrete at thee maximum
lateeral displaceement experiienced by th
he test specim
mens. The ddiagonal bannds of large
straains observed in the plo
ots indicate the
t opening of a major diagonal crrack in both
speecimens, whiich is consisttent with thee damage repported in Hidalgo et al. ((2002). The
larg
ge distortion
n observed in
n the elemen
nts in the corrner regions in Figure 5((c) indicates
thatt there is also
a
some concrete
c
cru
ushing and shear slidinng in the w
wall toes off
Speecimen 23.
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Oraakcal et al. (2009)


(
condu
ucted an exp
perimental pprogram to sttudy the sheear strength,
stifffness, and deformation
n capacity of pier andd spandrelss in lightly reinforced
perrimeter wallss with open
nings, which
h are commoonly found in mid-1900s building
con
nstruction. The
T tests werre conducted
d on pier annd spandrel specimens ddesigned to
represent as-bu
uilt condition
ns of two existing
e
hosppital buildinngs in Califoornia. They
werre subjected to lateral cy
yclic loading
g and had thhe rotation of the top andd bottom off
the walls restraained. FE mo
odels of two of the tests,, namely Tesst 1 (spandreel) and Test
6 (p
pier) as iden
ntified Orakccal et al. (20
009), have bbeen developped. The anaalytical and
exp
perimental laateral load-vs.-displacem
ment curves ppresented inn Figure 6 shhow that the
FE models again providee a good esstimate of tthe cyclic llateral respoonse of the
speecimens. How
wever, the raate of streng
gth deterioraation in Test 1 is underestimated by
the FE model. The
T failure of
o the specim
mens in the m
models is caaused by majjor diagonal
craccks in the wall
w segmentt, as depicteed from the distribution of maximum
m principal
straains shown in
n Figure 6. These
T
resultss are consisttent with thee diagonal shhear failures
reported in Oraakcal et al. (2
2009) for theese specimenns.

(a)) lateral force vs. displaccement for


Test 1

(b) lateraal force vs. ddisplacementt for Test


6

(c)) maximum principal


p
straains at the
peak displacement of Test
T 1

(d) maxiimum princiipal strains aat the peak


displacemeent of Test 6

Fig
gure 6. Anallysis of pierr and spandrel specimeens tested byy Orakcal ett al. (2009)

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Palermo and Vecchio


V
(200
02) tested tw
wo large-scaale shear waalls with flaanges under
quaasi-static lateeral loading
g. Each speccimen consissted of a weeb wall withh an aspect
ratiio of 0.66 an
nd two widee flanged waalls at its ennds, as well as stiff slabs at the top
and
d bottom of the walls. Horizontal
H
an
nd vertical lloads were aapplied on thhe top slab,
and
d the bottom
m slab was fixed
f
to the strong floorr. The geom
metry and reiinforcement
con
nfiguration of
o the two sp
pecimens weere identicall. One of thee specimenss, DP1, was
sub
bjected to a constant axiial load during the test.. No axial looad was appplied in the
other specimen
n, DP2. Th
he analyticaal and expeerimental reesults of thhe tests are
presented in Fig
gure 7.

(a)) lateral forcce vs. displaccement for DP1


D

(b) lateral forcee vs. displaceement for


DP2

(cc) maximum principal strrains of DP1


1 at
8 mm drift

(d) m
minimum prinncipal strainns of DP1 at
14 mm drift

Fiigure 7. Ana
alysis of flan
nged shear walls
w
tested
d by Palermo and Vecch
hio (2002)
Thee behavior of
o the walls is
i very brittlee as depictedd from Figurre 7(a) and F
Figure 7(b).
As shown, thee stiffness, peak
p
strengtth, strength deterioratioon, and unloading and
oading patteerns are welll predicted in
i the analyyses. The disstribution off maximum
relo
prin
ncipal strain
ns plotted in
n Figure 7(c) indicates tthat a diagoonal crack foorms in the
DP1 model at a drift of 8 mm
m when thee lateral loadd resistance sstarts to dropp. However,
the flanges resttrict the cracck from opeening near thhe web toess and precludde diagonal
tension failure.. Palermo and
a Vecchio (2002) repported that tthe failure oof both test
t extensiv
ve crushing oof the concrrete along a widespread
speecimens was caused by the
region of the web.
w
As show
wn in the diistribution oof minimum principal sttrains at the
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max
ximum driftt in Figure 7 (d), there is
i a band of elements suubjected to ssevere large
com
mpressive strrains in the middle of the
t web walll indicating that a crushhing failure
also
o occurs in th
he model. A similar dam
mage patternn is observedd in the DP2 model.
m
presen
nted in this paper
p
was aalso employeed in a blindd prediction
Thee concrete model
con
nducted at ANATECH
A
by
b Dowel an
nd Zhang (19998) of a shhake-table test on a 1/3scale 6-floor RC buildin
ng as part of the C
CAMUS Intternational Benchmark
(Co
ommissariat a lEnergie Atomique 1997).
1
The bbuilding consisted of twoo cantilever
sheear walls con
nnected by flloors at each
h level. As ppart of the bllind predictioon exercise,
non
nlinear staticc pushover and dynamic time-historyy analyses w
were conductted. The FE
model provideed a good estimation
e
of
o the top ddisplacemennts, and thee shear and
oveerturning mo
oment at the base of the building.
b
It aalso predicteed the failure caused by
the diagonal sh
hear crack failure
f
betw
ween the seccond and thhird floor, as shown in
Fig
gure 8. This type
t
of failu
ure was indu
uced by the ttermination oof reinforcem
ment at this
floo
or.

Figure 8.
8 Analysis of
o CAMUS benchmark
k test

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CONCLUSION
Performance-based analysis of shear-dominated RC walls often relies on
phenomenological models derived from limited experimental data. High-fidelity
mechanics-based finite element models can be a more versatile alternative to predict
the behavior of these walls. They can also be used as a support for the calibration of
phenomenological models.
A three-dimensional constitutive model for concrete capable of predicting the shear
behavior of RC walls has been presented in this paper. The model uses a smearedcracking approach, and includes shear retention and shear shedding capabilities that
allow a correct characterization of shear stresses across cracks. Nonlinear finite
element analyses using this model have predicted with reasonably good accuracy the
lateral strength, stiffness, deformation capacity, and hysteretic energy dissipation
capacity of squat walls tested under cyclic loading. The models have also reproduced
the shear failures observed in the tests, which included diagonal cracking and
concrete crushing.
REFERENCES
Al-Mahaidi, R.S.H. (1979), Nonlinear Finite Element Analysis of Reinforced
Concrete Deep Members, Rep 79-1, Cornell University, Structural
Engineering Department.
ASCE (2013), Seismic Evaluation and Retrofit of Existing Buildings (ASCE 4113), Reston, Virginia.
Commissariat a lEnergie Atomique (1997), Mock-up and Loading
Characteristic Specifications for the Participants Report, Report 1,
CAMUS International Benchmark, France.
Dassault Systemes. (2014), Abaqus Version 6.14, Providence, RI.
Dowel, R.K., Zhang, L. (1998), Prediction Analysis of a 1/3-Scale Reinforced
Building, Report to CAMUS International Benchmark, ANATECH
Report ANA-98-0234.
Elwood, K.J., Matamoros, A.B., Wallace, J.W., Lehman, D.E., Heintz, J.A.,
Mitchell, A.D., Moore, M.A., Valley, M.T., Lowes, L.N., Comartin,
C.D., Moehle, J.P. (2007), Update to ASCE/SEI 41 Concrete
Provisions, Earthquake Spectra, 23 (3), 493-523.
Hidalgo, P.A., Ledezma, C.A., and Jordan, R.M. (2002), Seismic Behavior of
Squat Reinforced Concrete Shear Walls. Earthquake Spectra, 18 (2),
287-308.
Orakcal, K., Massone, L.M., Wallace, J.W. (2009), Shear Strength of Lightly
Reinforced Wall Piers and Spandrels. ACI Structural Journal, 106 (4),
455-465.
Palermo, D., Vecchio, F.J. (2002), Behavior of Three-Dimensional Reinforced
Concrete Shear Walls. ACI Structural Journal, 99 (1), 81-89.

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Rashid, Y.R. (1968), Ultimate Strength Analysis of Prestressed Concrete


Pressure Vessels, Nuclear Engineering and Design, 7, pp. 334-344.
Rashid, J.Y.R., Dameron, R.A., Dunham, R.S. (2001), Finite Element Analysis
of Reinforced Concrete in Bridge Seismic Design Practice, Modeling of
Inelastic Behavior of RC Structures Under Seismic Loads, edited by P.
Benson Shing and Tada-aki Tanabe, ASCE, 217-233.

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