This study integrates research in the fields of high performance fiber reinforced concrete, reinforced concrete structures, and large-scale experimentation to develop new coupled wall systems that are easier to construct and offer improved earthquake performance. It was conceived from the idea that the next generation of reinforced concrete (RC) structures should utilize ductile cementitious materials in critical regions, rather than extensive reinforcement detailing to provide shear resistance, concrete confinement and thus, an increase in deformation capacity of structural members and systems. In other words, the approach is to use a “better material” rather than “more material”.
The structural application reported in this paper is for the use of HPFRC in coupling beams of reinforced concrete structural wall systems. Coupled structural walls are a popular lateral load resisting system for medium-rise structures in zones of moderate to high seismicity. During a large earthquake it is anticipated that the coupling beams will undergo significant inelastic deformations and it is important for these beams to have a high energy dissipation capability and good stiffness retention. Steel reinforcement detailing required in reinforced concrete coupling beams to resist earthquake-induced forces and deformations is labor intensive and costly, which often leads practicing engineers to discard the use of such coupling beams in medium- and high-rise construction.
The seismic behavior of precast, lightly reinforced HPFRC coupling beams is discussed based on results from large-scale tests under displacement reversals. HPFRC is used: 1) as a replacement for steel confinement reinforcement, 2) to provide additional shear resistance, and 3) to increase coupling beam damage tolerance.
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