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Earthquake Resistant Design for Masonry Walls Utilizing a Mortar-Less Construction System

Earthquake Resistant Design for Masonry Walls Utilizing a Mortar-Less Construction System

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Published by Charles A Laster
I live near the New Madrid Fault in the highest risk seismic zone. This is the result of my research to build safe structures in a region like the one I live in.
I live near the New Madrid Fault in the highest risk seismic zone. This is the result of my research to build safe structures in a region like the one I live in.

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Published by: Charles A Laster on Aug 05, 2012
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05/17/2013

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Earthquake Resistant Design for Masonry Walls Utilizing a Mortar-lessConstruction System
Charles Anthony LasterAugust 4, 2012laster3@bellsouth.netAbstractA mortar-less construction system is explored that has several advantagesover standard masonry construction in earthquake resistance and total buildingcost. Unlike standard masonry walls which are solid, the interlocking mortar-lessmasonry blocks allow slight movement and lock tighter over time, aided by aninnovative application of steel reinforcement. This construction technique is alsobetter at dissipating the energy of a seismic wave than traditional masonry. Thissystem can also be used in conjunction with poured concrete for improvedperformance.
 
 Table of ContentsIntroductionDry Stacked, Interlocked and Ashlar Masonry Interlocking Reinforced Ashlar Masonry, I.R.A.M.I.R.A.M. Walls, Forces During an EarthquakeFoundationsVertical forces and associated wall movementForces parallel to the wall and associated movementForces perpendicular to the wall and associated movementMasonry VeneerPrestressing in I.R.A.M. ConstructionPrecompressionPost-tensioningUsing Post-tensioning to Precompress I.R.A.M. walls.Steel Reinforcement ConnectionsA Walls Weak Spot, CornersCurvesLayered Wall ConstructionImproved Earthquake PerformanceInsulation in Layered WallsI.R.A.M. "Forms" in Poured ConcreteConclusions
 
IntroductionMasonry walls can crack from settling, earthquakes are an even greaterdanger. The high mass of masonry walls means the forces exerted on the wall froman earthquake are higher than on lighter structures like lumber framed walls.Masonry veneer walls are often anchored to a framed structure, resulting in damageto the structure from the collapsing wall."There is a limited understanding of the ability of the veneer to resist cyclicearthquake loading while acting in combination with light frame bracing systemsand because veneer cracks and breaks at smaller displacements then required forthe light-frame system to achieve its capacity." p. 103 [1] This specific problem willbe examined in detail latter.For other masonry walls, strength of a wall depends solely on the strength of the stone or masonry used, and the mortar used to bond them together andreinforcement, if any.If the bond strength of the mortar is too weak, it will give, but this is only aproblem with old, poor quality lime mortar joints. If the bond strength of the mortaris less than the mortar or the masonry, the wall will crack along the joint next to themasonry. If the bond is as strong or stronger than the mortar, the crack will runthrough the masonry. This is commonly seen when modern concrete based mortaris used in masonry construction.Regardless masonry walls crack under strain, and the mortar used is themain factor in how and where the fracture occurs. Masonry walls are rigid, anddon't handle movement well because the mortar bonds the wall into a single fairly rigid structure. Lime based mortar is slightly more flexible than concrete mortar, butthe lower strength of traditional lime mortar makes it less desirable. [2]During the research into improving lime based mortars [2] the role of mortarin masonry wall cracking and failure became clearer, and some examples of earthquake resistant masonry without mortar was found. Using a mortar-lessconstruction has some significant advantages, both in performance and cost, overtraditional masonry and reinforced concrete for many applications.Dry Stacked, Interlocked and Ashlar Masonry Walls of stone built without the use of mortar have been used throughout thehistory of mankind and have proved to be remarkably stable, even in earthquakeprone regions. Mortar-less wall construction allows for some movement and settlingof the wall without damage. They have several passive structural effects that work todissipate seismic energy and suppress resonant amplifications during anearthquake. [3]

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