Design recommendations to prevent global out-of-plane instability of rectangular reinforced concrete ductile walls
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Observations of out-of-plane (OOP) instability in the 2010 Chile earthquake and in the 2011 Christchurch earthquake resulted in concerns about the current design provisions of structural walls. This mode of failure was previously observed in the experimental response of some wall specimens subjected to in-plane loading. Therefore, the postulations proposed for prediction of the limit states corresponding to OOP instability of rectangular walls are generally based on stability analysis under in-plane loading only. These approaches address stability of a cracked wall section when subjected to compression, thereby considering the level of residual strain developed in the reinforcement as the parameter that prevents timely crack closure of the wall section and induces stability failure. The New Zealand code requirements addressing the OOP instability of structural walls are based on the assumptions used in the literature and the analytical methods proposed for mathematical determination of the critical strain values. In this study, a parametric study is conducted using a numerical model capable of simulating OOP instability of rectangular walls to evaluate sensitivity of the OOP response of rectangular walls to variation of different parameters identified to be governing this failure mechanism. The effects of wall slenderness (unsupported height-to-thickness) ratio, longitudinal reinforcement ratio of the boundary regions and length on the OOP response of walls are evaluated. A clear trend was observed regarding the influence of these parameters on the initiation of OOP displacement, based on which simple equations are proposed for prediction of OOP instability in rectangular walls.