Analysis of the seismic vulnerability and innovative retrofit solutions of cavity brickwork walls

Romina Sisti, Marco Corradi, Alberto Balsamo, M. Di Ludovico, Andrea Prota, Emanuela Speranzini, Alessio Molinari

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This paper offers the results of an experimental investigation aimed at assessing the seismic vulnerability of a type of cavity wall, with a brief discussion of the advantages of this form of construction. Cavity walls were mainly designed to carry vertical loads and to improve the thermal behaviour of the building envelope: these are made of two single-wythe walls (typically using low-perforated bricks) with a cavity filled with a polystyrene panel. Cavity walls often exhibit poor seismic performance. A total of 12 full-size cavity-wall panels were tested in this experimental programme at the laboratory, by conducting shear and bending tests aimed at studying the in-plane and out-of-plane structural responses under simulated seismic actions. In addition, different retrofit solutions were studied and used to reinforce the cavity-wall panels: this included the traditional method to tie the wall leaves with steel connectors, an innovative method made of GFRP (Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymers) rods, and a mortar coating reinforced with a composite grid, known as FRCM (Fiber Reinforced Cementitious Matrix). It was found that the lateral bending-capacity of the panels reinforced with the GFRP rods and a FRCM coating greatly increased over that of the control unreinforced specimens. The proposed reinforced method was able to provide some seismic resisting capacity to the cavity walls, especially against bending and out-of-plane loading, in a more effective way than the traditional method of steel ties.
Original languageEnglish
Article number134018
Number of pages13
JournalConstruction and Building Materials
Early online date8 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2023

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