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In-Plane Shear Strength of Partially Grouted


Masonry Shear Walls

Conference Paper · June 2011

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In-Plane Shear Strength of Partially Grouted Masonry Shear Walls

Shawn M. Nolph1 and Mohamed A. ElGawady2

Abstract
This research investigated the shear behavior of five full scale partially grouted masonry
shear walls. The walls were built using concrete masonry units and having shear
reinforcement ratios ranging from 0.085% to 0.169%. The specimens had grout horizontal
spacings ranging from 610 mm (24 in.) to 1219 mm (48 in.). All the specimens were tested
under constant gravity load and incrementally increasing in-plane loading cycles. In addition,
the current provisions of the Masonry Standards Joint Committee (MSJC), New Zealand
Code for Masonry Structures, Fattal’s model, and strut and tie models were used to predict
the shear strengths of the tests specimens. This research showed that there appears to be a
maximum shear reinforcement ratio after which no additional shear capacity is achieved.
Based on the experimental results, the maximum value appears to be approximately 0.1% for
specimens with a 1219 mm (48 in.) grout horizontal spacing. Increasing the shear
reinforcement beyond this level did not increase the shear strength of the test specimens.
Finally, the current MSJC shear equations over-estimated the strength of PG-MWs with 1219
mm (48 in.) grout horizontal spacing. For partially grouted walls with grout horizontal spacing
813 mm (32 in.), or less, and a horizontal reinforcement ratio of 0.085%, the MSJC shear
equations are adequate. Shear equations by other codes and researchers were
unconservative, as well. The strut and tie models were able to predict the shear strength of
the test specimens within ±10%.

Keywords: Shear walls, partially grouted, earthquake, shear strength

1
Visiting Research Assoc., University of Minnesota, Dept. of Civil Eng., 500 Pillsbury Dr. SE, Minneapolis, MN,
55455, USA, bean0032@umn.edu
2
Prof., University of Minnesota, Dept. of Civil Eng., 500 Pillsbury Dr. SE, Minneapolis, MN, 55455, USA,
schul088@umn.edu
Shear Strength of Partially Grouted Masonry Walls
Few studies have been carried out in to address the in-plane shear strength of PG-MWs
(Matsumura 1986, Yancey 1989, Fattal 1993a, Fattal 1993b, Ghanem 1992, Ghanem 1993,
Schultz 1996, and Schultz 1998, Maleki 2008, and Minaie 2010). The current Masonry
Standard Joint Committee (MSJC 2008) shear design equations were developed and verified
using research on fully grouted masonry shear walls. Shear design ofPG-MWs according to
MSJC (2008) provisions may lead to unsafe shear walls (ElGawady 2008, and Minaie 2010).
However, limited experimental work has been carried out in the United State to investigate
the shear strength of partially grouted shear walls. Moreover, some of this data was
generated using small scale tests or construction details different from those used in
moderate to high seismic zones. Finally, the available experimental data was not well
documented and some details of the test specimens were not carefully reported (ElGawady
2008). This study aims to quantify (a) the effects of the grout horizontal spacing and
horizontal shear reinforcement ratio on the performance of PG-MWs, and (b) Investigate the
accuracy of the current MSJC (2008) shear design provisions.

Shear strength Provisions of MSJC (2008)


The MSJC (2008) provisions use expressions 1 through 5 for calculating the nominal shear
strength of masonry shear walls (Vn). These expressions recognize the contribution of
masonry (Vm) and horizontal shear reinforcement (VS).

[1]

[2]

[3]

[4]

[5]

Where M/Vd = effective moment to shear ratio, An = net cross sectional area, f’m= specified
compressive strength of masonry, P = applied axial load, Ash = cross sectional area of shear
reinforcement, and fyh = yield strength of horizontal shear reinforcement.

Experimental Program
Test specimens
Professional masons constructed five test specimens in a running bond using standard 200
mm (8 in.) hollow concrete masonry units (CMUs) and face shell bedding. Figures 1 and 2 as
well as Table 1 show the details of the test specimens.

Figure 1. Typical dimensions of a test specimen [in. (mm)]

(a) PG085-48, PG120-48, PG169-48 (b) PG085-32

(c) PG085-24
Figure 2. Horizontal cross-sections of the different wall specimens

Table 1. Wall specimen parameters


Wall ID PG085-48 PG120-48 PG169-48 PG085-32 PG085-24
48 48 48 32 24
Vertical reinforcement (1219) (1219) (1219) (813) (610)
spacing in inch (mm)
2 #7 x 3 2 #7 x 3 2 #7 x 3 2 #6 x 4 2 #6 x 2
Vertical reinforcement cells cells cells cells cells
356 356 356 388 421
An in inch2 (mm2) (229,677) (229,677) (229,677) (250,322) (271,612)
shear stirrup in each bond
beam 1 #5 1 #6 2 #5 1 #5 1 #5
ρh 0.00085 0.00120 0.00169 0.00085 0.00085
0.31 0.44 0.62 0.31 0.31
Av in inch2 (mm2) (200) (284) (400) (200) (200)
All specimens had approximately a vertical reinforcement ratio of 0.5%. Horizontal shear
reinforcement was provided in bond beam knockout blocks placed at a spacing of 1219 mm
(48 in.) in the 6th and 12th courses (Table 1). The shear rebar was anchored with MSJC
(2008) provisions-compliant 180-degree hooks around the outermost vertical reinforcement.
The CMUs had a measured net area compressive strength of 18.1 MPa (2630 psi). Each
specimen was grouted using fine aggregate grout provided by a local ready-mix supplier. The
grout had a measured compressive strength f g` = 29.2 MPa (4240 psi) (ASTM C1019-07).
The masonry measured compressive strength fm` was 11.3 MPa (1640 psi) for ungrouted
prisms and 19.7 MPa (2860 psi) for grouted prisms. All the rebar used in the construction was
Gr. 60 with average measured yield strength of 439 MPa (63.6 ksi).

Test setup and loading system

Figure 3 illustrates the test setup. A constant vertical force (Pu) of approximately 49.4 kN
(11.1 kips) corresponding to an uniform axial stress of 0.10 MPa (14 psi) was applied to the
top of each specimen using two hydraulic jacks. A single-ended hydraulic actuator was used
to apply the required displacement at the 12th CMU course of each test specimen. The
actuator was attached to a loading steel frame at one end and to a pair of C-channels that
were bolted to each wall specimen using thirteen 19 mm (3/4 in.) threaded rods that were
grouted in place in the 12th CMU course during construction (Figure 3). Finally, the foundation
of each specimen was post-tensioned to the laboratory strong floor with six threaded rods.

Each specimen was typically instrumented with a total of 13 strain gages and 17 string
potentiometers (Figure 4). The middle and top shear reinforcement had 4 strain gages each.

Figure 3. Test Setup.

Experimental Results
Figure 5 shows the test specimens after testing. The load-drift hysteretic curves of the test
specimens are shown in Figure 5. Table 2 summarizes the main events occurred during
testing the specimen
Figure 4. Typical locations of strain gages and string pots.

Specimen PG085-48

The first crack was stepped crack passing through the mortar bed and head-joints. While
pushing toward the north to a drift angle of 0.27% (85.9 kN (19.3 kips)), a horizontal flexural
crack developed in the mortar joint in the end grouted cell just beneath the middle bond
beam. At a drift angle of 0.33% (98.3 kN (22.1 kips)), stepped cracks in the mortar bed and
head-joints developed in the upper masonry panels. As testing continued, 45˚ cracks
developed through the CMUs in all panels and middle bond beam. At a drift angle of 1.3%
(221.8 kN (49.9 kips)), several diagonal cracks opened significantly and the peak strength of
the wall was achieved. At this drift angle, several loud "pops" and bulging of the face shells of
several units were noted. At a drift angle of 1.5% (166.1 kN (37.4 kips)), an approximate 24%
drop in the average lateral strength happened.

Table 2. Test summary


Crack description PG085-48 PG120-48 PG169-48 PG085-32 PG085-24
0.11% 0.11% 0.05% 0.11% 0.05%*
First stair-step crack
(40.0 kN) (38.7 kN) (33.4 kN) (39.1 kN) (19.1 kN)
First stair-step crack 0.33% 0.27% 0.33% 0.11% 0.22%
in the upper panel (98.3 kN) (82.7 kN) (98.3 kN) (39.1 kN) (72.1 kN)
1.3% 1.5% 0.65% 1.3% 1.5%
Ultimate strength
(207.0 kN) (199 kN) (202.9 kN) (260 kN) (295 kN)
1.5% 1.5% 0.87% 1.5% 1.7%
End of the test
(190.0 kN) (161.0 kN) (158.9 kN) (237 kN) (241 )
* Hair cracks occurred in the mortar joints of this specimen while moving the specimen into
the testing frame.

Specimen PG120-48

The specimen behaved similar to specimen PG085-48. First, stair-step cracks appeared in
the bottom masonry panel followed by stair-step cracks in the top masonry panels. During
testing to a drift angle of 0.27% (82.7 kN (18.6 kips)), a 45˚ crack developed through the face
shell of the end cell of the southern CMU in the middle bond beam. During pulling to a drift
angle of 0.87% (173.8 kN (39.1 kips)), a vertical splitting crack appeared in the end shell of
the southern CMU of the middle bond beam. More 45˚ cracks developed in the mortar joints
and masonry units until a drift angle of 1.5% (227.7 kN (51.2 kips)) at which point the wall
reached its peak strength. The vertical splitting crack in the south end shell of the bond beam
significantly extended through 4 masonry courses while pulling to a drift angle of 1.5%. By the
end of the 3rd cycle at a drift angle of 1.5%, the lateral strength of the wall dropped by an
average of approximately 19% and the test was ended at this point.

(a) (b) (c)

(d) (e)
Figure 5. Specimens (a) PG085-48, (b) PG120-48, (c) PG169-48, (d) PG085-32, and (e)
PG085-24 at the test end.

Specimen PG169-48

Similar to specimen PG120-48, stepped cracks appeared in the lower masonry panels
followed by the upper masonry panels. Then, during testing to a drift angle of 0.54% (185 kN
(41.6 kips)), a vertical crack in the face shell of the last unit at the south end of the 7th course
(i.e. just above the middle bond beam) developed. During testing to a drift angle of 0.87%
(158.9 kN (35.7 kips)), an approximate 22% drop occurred in the lateral strength of the
specimen and the test was stopped.
(a) (b)

(c) (d)

(e)
Figure 6. Load-drift hysteretics for specimens (a) PG085-48, (b) PG120-48,
(c) PG169-48, (d) PG085-32, and (e) PG085-24.

Specimen PG085-32

The first cracks were stepped crack passing through the outermost bottom masonry panels.
These cracks were followed by stepped cracks in the top masonry panels. The specimen
reached its peak lateral load at a drift angle of 1.3% (260.0 kN (58.5 kips)) when a significant
diagonal crack passing through CMUs and mortar joints developed along the full diagonal
length of upper masonry panel. As the applied lateral drift angle increased to 1.5% (201.4 kN
(45.3 kips)), this diagonal crack extended and became a vertical splitting crack on the face
shells of CMUs and passing through the middle bond beam all way through the 3rd brick
course. By this drift angle, the test was stopped with an approximate reduction of the lateral
strength of the specimen by 23%.

Specimen PG085-24

Similar to the other specimens, stepped cracks developed in the lower masonry panels
followed by the upper masonry panels. While testing to a drift angle of 1.1% (240 kN (54.0
kips)), diagonal cracks formed in the face shells in the bond beam and in upper masonry
panel. While testing to a drift angle of 1.3% (60.5 kips (269 kN)), a vertical splitting crack
formed in the end shell at the 6th course. While testing to a drift angle of 1.5% (66.4 kips (295
kN)), the specimen reached its peak strength and the diagonal cracks, that started at a drift
angle of 1.1%, extended down into the lower masonry panel. These cracks opened
significantly while testing to a drift angle of 1.7% (54.2 kips (241 kN)) leading to reduction in
the lateral strength of the specimen by an average of 19%.

Discussion

Effects of Grout Horizontal Spacing

Figure 7(a) shows the effects of grout horizontal spacing on the behavior of specimens
PG085-48, PG085-32, and PG085-24. As shown in the figure, specimen PG085-24 has the
highest strength followed by specimens PG085-32, and PG085-48. By increasing the grout
horizontal spacing or decreasing the net cross sectional area the strength of the test
specimens linearly decreased. In addition, the grout horizontal spacing did not have
systematic effects on the deformability of the test specimens. The three partially grouted
specimens reached a displacement ductility factor of approximately 1.25.

(a) (b)
Figure 7. Specimens with differing (a) grout horizontal spacings, and (b) shear reinforcement ratios.
Effects of Shear Reinforcement Ratio

Figure 7(b) shows the effect of shear reinforcement on the behavior of specimens PG085-48,
PG120-48, and PG169-48. As shown in the figure, the shear strengths of the test specimens
remained constant for the different reinforcement ratios used in this experimental program.
This suggested that there is an upper limit for the shear reinforcement ratio after which no
additional shear capacity is achieved. Finally, changing the horizontal reinforcement ratio
neither significantly changed the initial stiffness nor the deformability of specimens PG085-48
and PG120-48. However, doubling the shear reinforcement ratio from specimen PG085-48 to
PG169-48 significantly reduced the ultimate drift angle of specimen PG169-48.

As mentioned earlier, the axial strains in the rebar in the middle bond beams were measured
using strain gages. for specimens having high shear reinforcement ratio, i.e. specimens
PG169-48 and PG120-48, the rebar did not reach the yield strains with ultimate strains of
1100 and 1800 micro-strains which are approximately 50% and 82% of the yield strain of the
rebar, respectively. For specimen PG085-48, the shear rebar reached a peak axial strain of
2600 micro-strain which is approximately 119% of the yield strain of the rebar. A regression
analysis of the measured axial strains versus the shear reinforcement ratio showed that a
horizontal reinforcement ratio of approximately 0.11%, or less, will result in yielding of the
horizontal reinforcement. This proposed ratio is based on the results of only 3 specimens and
more specimens are required to come up with an upper limit for shear reinforcement ratio.

Measured vs. Predicted Shear Strength Using MSJC (2008) Provisions

The predicted strength of each test specimen (Vn) using the MSJC (2008) and Vn times the
shear strength reduction factor () of 0.80 is presented in Figure 6. The errors in the
predictions of the ultimate strengths are shown in Figure 8. The error is defined as the
(ultimate strength – Vn)/ultimate strength. As shown in the figure, the MSJC (2008) shear
equations overestimated the shear strengths for all specimens with a single exception, i.e.
specimen PG085-24. For grout horizontal spacing of 610 mm (24 in.) and 813 mm (32 in.),
the predictions were quite good with an over-prediction of 7% for specimen PG085-32 and an
under-prediction of 1% for specimen PG085-24. For the three specimens with 1219 mm (48
in.) grout horizontal spacing and variable shear reinforcement ratios, the MSJC (2008) shear
equations over-predicted the shear strengths with an error ranged from 12% to 26%. Lines
representing the correlation relationship between the test results and grout spacing and
reinforcement ratio are presented in Figure 8. Figure 8 shows that the error in predicting the
shear strength using MSJC (2008) provisions increased with increasing shear reinforcement
ratio and horizontal spacing between vertical grouted cells.
(a) (b)
Figure 8. Errors in the predicted shear strengths for specimens having (a) different
reinforcement ratio, and (b) grout horizontal spacing.

For the three specimens with reinforcement ratio of 0.085% and variable grout horizontal
spacing, Figure 8(b) shows that the error in the strength predictions using the MSJC (2008)
shear equations is linearly correlated to the grout horizontal spacing. With the shear
reinforcement ratio constant, Vs (Eq. 3) is constant for all three specimens. Therefore, the
total nominal shear strength (Eq. 1) varies due to Vm, the nominal shear strength contributed
by the masonry (Eq. 2). The contribution to V m from the axial load is constant for all three
specimens. The only variable between the three specimens is the net cross sectional area of
masonry. This suggests that a reduction factor of some type should be applied to the nominal
shear strength contributed by the masonry, Vm, for partially grouted shear walls. Eq. 6 shows
a reduction factor developed based on the limited data set presented in this manuscript.

[6]

Where Ag is the gross cross sectional area.

Other Codes and Methods

Figure 9 shows comparisons between the experimental ultimate strengths and those
calculated using shear equations by the MSJC (2008), Fattal (1993a), NZS 4230 (2004), and
strut and tie (S&T) models. As shown in the figure, all the models and codes except those of
the S&T models over-predicted the strengths of the specimens that have horizontal grout
spacing of 1219 mm (48 in.). However, they were able to predict quite well the strengths for
specimens that have smaller horizontal grout spacing of 813 mm (32 in.) and 612 mm (24 in).
The strut and tie models were good predictors for all specimens with the strengths of the
specimens predicted within ±10%.

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS


The following findings and conclusions were drawn from the research presented in this
manuscript:
Figure 19. Experimental vs. predicted shear strengths.

 There appears to be a maximum shear reinforcement ratio after which no additional shear
capacity is achieved. Based on the experimental results, the maximum value appears to
be approximately 0.1% for specimens with a 1219 mm (48 in.) grout horizontal spacing.
Increasing the shear reinforcement beyond this level did not increase the shear strength
of the test specimens. A similar statement cannot be made for the 813 mm (32 in.) and
610 mm (24 in.) grout horizontal spacings due to there being only one shear
reinforcement level, 0.085%, tested at these grout horizontal spacings.

 Increasing the reinforcement ratio led to a very stiff behavior and limited deformability of
the test specimens.

 Within the scope of the investigated parameter in this research, there seems to be
insignificant effects of the grout horizontal spacing on the deformability and the stiffness of
the test specimens.

 The current MSJC shear equations over-estimated the strength of PG-MWs with 1219
mm (48 in.) grout horizontal spacing. A significant source of this error is from over-
estimating the contribution of the shear reinforcement. In addition, the MSJC (2008)
equations overestimated the masonry contribution. For partially grouted walls with grout
horizontal spacing 813 mm (32 in.), or less, and a horizontal reinforcement ratio of
0.085%, the equations are adequate.

 In general, the equations by Fattal (1993a and b) were unconservative but better than
those of the current MSJC (2008). The New Zealand masonry code predictions were
judged to be generally similar to those of the MSJC (2008) and did not present a
substantial improvement.

 The strut and tie model was a good predictor for all specimens. The partially grouted
specimens were all predicted within ±10%.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This research was conducted with funding from the NCMA, the Northwest Concrete Masonry
Association, and the Eastern Washington Masonry Promotion Group. Appreciation is also
extended to Mr. R. Duncan, and S. Lewis for technical support during testing the specimens.

REFERENCES
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