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HKIE Transactions

ISSN: 1023-697X (Print) 2326-3733 (Online) Journal homepage: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/thie20

Ductility design of reinforced concrete shear walls


with the consideration of axial compression ratio
J S Kuang & Y P Yuen
To cite this article: J S Kuang & Y P Yuen (2015) Ductility design of reinforced concrete shear
walls with the consideration of axial compression ratio, HKIE Transactions, 22:3, 123-133, DOI:
10.1080/1023697X.2015.1071027
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1023697X.2015.1071027

Published online: 25 Sep 2015.

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Date: 14 January 2016, At: 22:56

HKIE Transactions, 2015


Vol. 22, No. 3, 123133, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1023697X.2015.1071027

Ductility design of reinforced concrete shear walls with the consideration of axial compression
ratio
J S Kuanga and Y P Yuenb
a Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong, Peoples
Republic of China; b Department of Civil Engineering, Bursa Orhangazi University, Turkey

Downloaded by [University of Malaya] at 22:56 14 January 2016

(Received 1 November 2013; accepted 9 December 2014 )


To evaluate and quantify the eect of the axial compression ratio on the seismic performance of reinforced concrete
walls, a comprehensive statistical analysis with 474 sets of experimental data was conducted. Stipulated limits on the
axial compression ratio and their evaluation methods in various design codes were analysed and compared. Based on
the results of these analyses, methods for calculating the eective axial compression and the limiting value of the axial
compression ratio for reinforced concrete (RC) structural walls stipulated in the Code of Practice for Structural Use
of Concrete 2013 may be amended and improved on a more scientic basis. Recommendations are made for possible
amendments to the provision of design or detailing for ductility of structural walls in Clause 9.9.3 of the Hong Kong
structural concrete code 2013.
Keywords: shear wall; axial compression ratio; ductility; reinforced concrete; seismic design

Introduction
It has been demonstrated repeatedly by many disastrous
earthquakes [14] that well-designed structural walls can
render excellent lateral stability and drift ductility to
medium-to-high-rise reinforced concrete (RC) buildings
under seismic actions. Under reversed cyclic loading,
well-detailed and conned RC shear walls display very
good and stable exural deformability and energy dissipation capacity, which are attributed to the high curvature
ductility and extended plastic hinge length.[5] Meanwhile, as compared with the frame systems, the structural
behaviour of shear-wall systems is less inuenced by
random non-structural component eects such as inll
panels, which often trigger soft-storey phenomena in the
frame structures.[6] Shear walls are thus recognised as the
very important structural members with relatively high
ultimate lateral load-carrying capacity in seismic resistant
design.[2,7]
With credit given to the eorts made in experimental and analytical studies undertaken by researchers in the
past decades, the design and analysis methods for typical
RC walls have been well-established and standardised.
RC shear walls in high-rise buildings are often characterised by high compression forces and aspect ratios, as
a consequence of architectural designs which maximise
clear oor heights and usable oor areas. Recent studies [8,9] indicated that structural wall elements in tall
buildings can sustain axial compression ratios as high
*Corresponding author. Email: cejkuang@ust.hk
2015 The Hong Kong Institution of Engineers

as 0.4 fc  Ac or above, which is already beyond the typical range of 0 to 0.2 investigated experimentally.[1012]
A few studies on RC walls under an axial force ratio
above 0.3 can be found in the literatures,[1215] and
these experimental studies revealed that high axial force
ratios severely deprive drift ductility and stability of
RC walls. Shear walls suddenly fail in a brittle manner
when subjected to lateral reversed-cyclic loading under
a high axial compression ratio, thus losing their vertical
load-carrying capacity.
The 2010 Chile earthquake is a good example where
lessons were learned on the eect of high axial forces on
the seismic performance of RC structural walls. It has
been indicated from post-earthquake eld investigations
that thin walls, with thicknesses ranging from 150 mm to
200 mm, in newly built high-rise buildings are normally
subjected to a higher axial compression and suered severer damage than thicker walls in old buildings during
the earthquake.[16,17] Out-of-plane insatiability of walls,
buckling or fracturing of the boundary reinforcement, and
compression failure over the entire wall lengths are typical signicant damage modes observed in thin RC walls,
as shown in Figure 1. The design of new buildings in
Chile mainly follows the American Concrete Institutes
1995 building code for structural concrete, but the provisions on the detailing of transverse reinforcement at wall
boundaries are not included, which can be a major cause
of the signicant wall damage.

124

J.S. Kuang and Y.P. Yuen


Denitions and eects of axial compression ratios
Eect on ductility of RC walls
Axial force has a crucial role in governing the drift
ductility of RC walls. An apparent and instant eect
with a higher axial compression is the reduction of the
curvature ductility of walls,[5,21] which is directly
and inversely proportional to the natural axis depth c
and in turn is a monotonic increasing function of axial
compression, given as follows:

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u
cu lw
=
,
y
2.00y c

(1)

where lw is the wall length. Hence, the curvature ductility, as well as the drift ductility  , decreases with an
increase in axial compression. On the other hand, when
the strain penetration eect is deemed negligible and the
plastic hinge length is assumed to be lp 0.08lw , the
drift ductility of exural-controlled wall segments can be
estimated as follows:
y H 2 /3 + (u y )lp H
u

y
y H 2 /3


1 0.12cu
0.24 ,
=1+
V y cV

 =

Figure 1. Compression failure of a shear wall during the 2010


Chile earthquake. (Courtesy of M Francisco; acquired from
NISEE e-Library, EERC, University of California, Berkeley, the
USA).

To prevent undesirable brittle failures of RC walls,


many design codes of practice for RC structures,
including the Hong Kong structural concrete code
2013 (HKConcrete2013),[18] Chinese seismic code GB
500112010,[19] and Eurocode 8,[20] stipulated upper
limits for axial compression ratios and boundary-element
detailing requirements for various ranges of axial compression ratios. Nonetheless, later it can be seen that the
provisions in dierent codes of practice have dissimilarities, including the denitions and limiting values. In view
of this issue, this paper presented a comprehensive survey
and study on the suitability of various code provisions
on axial compression ratios. The detailed eect of axial
compression ratios on the seismic performance of RC
walls was rstly studied, followed by a comprehensive
comparison and discussion on the corresponding code
provisions. Based on an analysis of the results, methods
for calculating the eective axial compression and the
limiting value of axial compression ratio for RC structural
walls stipulated in the Code of Practice for Structural Use
of Concrete 2013 [18] may be amended and improved on
a more scientic basis. Recommendations were made for
possible amendments to the provision of design or detailing for ductility of structural walls in Clause 9.9.3 of the
HKConcrete2013.

(2)

where V is the vertical aspect ratio (H /lw ) and H is the


wall height.
Equation (2) further indicates that the aspect ratio V ,
concrete crushing strain cu and steel yielding strain y are
also eective parameters of the drift ductility of a wall
segment, as well as the natural axis depth c as an inuential parameter. This explains why conning boundary
elements for wall segments subjected to high axial forces
are required by various design codes to compensate for
the reduced ductility due to axial compression. The conned concrete in the conning boundary elements can
attain a much higher ultimate crushing strain, cu , than the
unconned concrete; hence, the higher curvature ductility can be achieved in RC walls with conning boundary
elements.
In addition, strength and stiness degradation of RC
members under cyclic loading is much more pronounced
under high axial compression, which is attributed to the
low cyclic fatigue eect.[22] High axial compression can
prompt pre-emptive buckling of thin RC walls, thus leading to a sudden and complete loss of axial force carrying
capacity in a brittle manner. Although on some occasions,
axial compression may be benecial to the shear strength
of squat RC walls with potential shear failure modes such
as diagonal tension and sliding shear,[23] this benet generally cannot compensate for the overall adverse eect.
It is thus widely recognised that RC walls subjected to
the high axial compression are more vulnerable to seismic
eects.

HKIE Transactions
To parametricise the axial compression eect on
the structural performances of RC walls, the axial
compression ratio is usually used, dened as follows:

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N
.
fc A

(3)

Indeed, in addition to the connement detailing,


aspect ratios, lap and splices etc., the axial compression ratio is a very important indicator for evaluating
the expected ductility and fragility of RC walls during
earthquakes. However, it should not be confused with the
load and resistance design or limit state design concepts,
since the axial compression ratio alone cannot represent
or be used to assess the actual seismic performance of
RC walls. Furthermore, this axial compression ratio is
particularly eective for RC structures with high ductility demands such as under seismic or other exceptional
loading cases. Therefore, the axial force in the numerator is often evaluated based on the realistic situation,
when the rare loading cases take place and no critical load combination procedure is generally required by
design codes.

(a)

125

Eect on displacement and load capacity


A comprehensive statistical analysis was conducted
for evaluating and quantifying the eect of the axial
force ratio on the seismic performance of RC structural walls. A total of 474 sets of data, composed of
experimental results of small to full-scale RC walls of
various shapes and detailing methods, were collected
from the literatures.[1015,22,2454] The gathered loaddisplacement data were analysed, wherein the denitions of yield displacement, ultimate displacement and
displacement ductility of the loading curves are based
on Park.[55]
In the collected database, more than 60% of the tests
were conducted with a relatively low axial force ratio of
below 0.05; in contrast, only about 15% and 7% were
tested with an axial force ratio of above 0.15 and 0.30,
respectively. Nonetheless, these high axial force tests
demonstrated that RC walls fail in very dierent manners
such as out-of-plane buckling, resembling the observed
damage modes of walls in the 2010 Chile earthquake
(Figure 1). RC walls that fail in out-of-plane buckling
are generally the very brittle members, which exhibit

(b)

(c)

Figure 2. Relationship between displacement ductility and axial compression ratio for dierent types of RC (a) all walls; (b) slender
walls; and (c) squat walls.

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126

J.S. Kuang and Y.P. Yuen

relatively low ductility, and hence the classical ductility


evaluation methods that assumed in-plane exural failure
are no longer applicable to these walls.
Figure 2(a) shows the relationship between drift ductility and axial force ratio of dierent kinds of RC shear
walls. It is shown that RC walls can easily achieve
high ductility ( 6) at a low axial force ratio (
10%) as long as the boundary elements are well detailed
and designed. However, when the axial compression
ratio increases to above 20%, RC walls can only barely
maintain moderate ductility (4 <  6) and special
detailing methods like composite-reinforced boundary
elements are necessary in order to acquire high ductility.
When the axial compression ratio is above 35%, preemptive out-of-plane buckling can be the dominating
failure mode as reported in the literatures,[1315] thus
RC walls are not suitable for providing lateral and vertical
resistances in seismic design.
(a)

It is recognised that squat shear walls with an aspect


ratio (H /L) lower than 1.5 are prone to shear failure, in
particular sliding shear failure rather than exural failure,
and the displacement ductility is not necessarily reduced
by an increase in axial compression. In contrast to the
ductility of slender shear walls (Figure 2(b)), the ductility of squat walls (Figure 2(c)) is less inuenced by the
axial compression ratio such that the inherent ductility
generally remains in the range of 2 <  5.
The relationship between the ultimate displacement
capacity and axial compression ratio of various types of
RC shear walls is also plotted in Figure 3(a). Again, as
shown in Figure 3(b), there is a trend of diminishing the
ultimate displacement capacity of slender walls with an
increase in axial compression ratio, owing to the reduction in neutral axial depth, low cycle fatigue eect and
potential out-of-plane buckling. In contrast, the ultimate
displacement capacity of squat walls tends to increase
(b)

(c)

Figure 3. Relationship between ultimate displacement ratio and axial compression ratio for dierent types of RC (a) all walls; (b)
slender walls; and (c) squat walls.

HKIE Transactions
with the axial compression ratio, as shown in Figure 3(c).
This reversed trend is actually due to the fact that the
shear strength and sliding resistance of cracks in squat
walls are enhanced by axial compression, which increases
the interfacial friction between crack faces.
Another important structural property of RC walls
related to axial compression is the shear strength. For
comparison purposes, the peak base shears reported by
the tests in the database are further normalised by the
following equation:

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vn =

Vp
,
fc 0.5 Aw

(4)

where Aw is the web area of the wall.


Figure 4 shows the relationship between the normalised shear strength and the axial compression ratio.
It shows that a higher axial compression tends to increase
the shear strength of all types of RC walls, in particular the squat RC walls, as shown in Figure 4(c). This is
because axial compression not only can enhance the shear
strength of walls, but also the moment resistance in some

(a)

127

cases.[9,23] Nevertheless, the enhanced shear strength


attributed to axial compression cannot generally compensate for the adverse eect of reduced drift capacity, and
after all, the system ductility is far more important than
the strength in seismic design.

Code provisions on axial compression ratio


In view of the adverse eect of axial compression on the
seismic performance of RC structural walls, most of the
modern design codes of practice for RC structures stipulate upper limits for the axial compression ratio. RC walls
with an axial compression ratio beyond the limits are generally deemed to be ineective in resisting seismic action,
even with connement detailing in the critical regions of
the members (such as expected plastic hinges). These provisions, in addition to connement detailing, intend to
ensure that sucient drift ductility and axial force carrying capacity can be retained in RC structures during
earthquakes or other exceptional load cases.

(b)

(c)

Figure 4. Relationship between the normalised shear strength and axial compression ratio for dierent types of RC (a) all walls; (b)
slender walls; and (c) squat walls.

128

J.S. Kuang and Y.P. Yuen

The HKConcrete2013
In Clause 9.9.3.3 of the HKConcrete2013,[18] the upper
limit of axial compression ratios of RC structural walls is
specied as follows:

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NW,HK
0.75,
0.45fcu Ac

(5)

where NW,HK is the design axial force, which is 1.4Gk +


1.6Qk (wherein Gk is the total permanent or dead load and
Qk is the total live load for the wall due to gravity load);
fcu is the characteristic cube strength of concrete under
uniaxial compression at 28 days; and Ac is the gross area
of the concrete section.
It was noted that the safety factor for concrete compressive strength used in the Hong Kong code is 1.5,
which is divided by the characteristic concrete strength
giving the design strength. The constant 0.45 = 0.67/1.5
in the denominator converts the characteristic concrete
strength into the equivalent design compressive strength
for the sections subjected to the dominant exural bending action, wherefore another multiplying factor 0.67 is
used. Meanwhile, the axial force in the numerator takes
the ultimate load value due to the sole gravity action,
without considering possible non-permanent imposedload reductions or representative gravity action during
rare events with exceptional loading actions, such as
earthquakes and explosions.
Chinese seismic design code (GB500112010)
In the Chinese seismic design code GB500112010,[19]
the upper limits of the axial compression ratio for RC
shear walls (sectional aspect ratio L/t > 8) take dierent values under dierent seismic fortication intensities
and structural grades. There are four classes of structural
grades: Grade I structures have high drift ductility, Grade
II and III structures have moderate-to-high drift ductility,
and Grade IV structures have relatively low drift ductility. The upper limits for structures with dierent grades
are given as follows:

0.4 Grade I, Intensity 9

NW,C
0.5 Grade I, Intensity 7 or 8

,
(6)

fc Ac
0.6 Grade II or III

Grade IV
where NW,C isthe factored axial force for the wall, which
is 1.2(Gk + i rdi Qki ) (wherein rdi is the combination
coecient ( 1) for variable action i [19] due to representative gravity load); and fc is the design axial compressive strength of concrete under uniaxial compression at 28
days, which is equal to the characteristic axial strength of
concrete fck divided by the safety factor 1.4.
The characteristic axial strength fck is determined by
150 mm 150 mm 300 mm prism compression tests.

In the Chinese code, it can conservatively be taken as


0.67 of the characteristic cube strength fcu,k , which resembles the value of fcu adopted in the Hong Kong code.
The average value of the ratio fck /fcu,k or so-called eectiveness factor is about 0.76 based on the experimental
studies.[56,57]
More stringent provisions are set for short pier RC
shear walls (4 < L/t 8) such that the axial compression ratios for Grades I, II and III short pier walls should
not exceed 0.45, 0.50 and 0.55, respectively in the critical
regions (JGJ3-2010).[58] The axial force in Equation (6)
is rst 
calculated from the representative gravity action
(Gk + i rdi Qki ), instead of the ultimate gravity action,
and expected to be taken by structures during earthquakes; then a multiplying factor of 1.2 is used to account
for the additional axial force incurred by unforeseen and
excluded actions on the walls. In the calculation of the
representative gravity action, the combination coecient
rdi is used to consider the reduced likelihood that full
variable actions are considered during earthquakes and,
for instance, the combination coecient for residential
oor live load is 0.5. The reduction factors for oor
live loads (GB50009-2012) [59] in multi-storey buildings
are already absorbed in the combination coecients; in
other words, variable actions Qki should not be reduced
before multiplying by combination coecients. Furthermore, it was noted that the design axial compressive
strength fc used in Equation (6) can be rewritten in the
form of characteristic compressive cube strength as fc =
0.67fcu /c = 0.67fcu /1.4 = 0.48fcu , which is close to the
value (0.45fcu ) used in the Hong Kong code calculation,
which is presented in Equation (5).
Eurocode 8 (EC8) (EN 1998-1:2004)
EC8 [20] stipulates the upper limits for axial compression
ratio (calculated from the normalised axial force) for ductile walls and columns designed for moderate (DCM) and
high (DCH) ductility classes, but there is no restriction
for low (DCL) ductility classes as follows:

0.35 DCH
NED,EC
0.4
(7)
DCM ,

fcd Ac

DCL
where NED,EC is the design axial force from the
analysis
for the seismic design situation (i.e. Gk +

i E,i Qki + E, wherein E is seismic action and E,i
is the combination coecient ( 1) for variable action
Qki ); and fcd is the design (with a safety factor of 1.5)
cylinder strength of concrete under uniaxial compression
at 28 days, which approximately equals 0.8 times the
corresponding cube strength.
The denitions of axial compression ratio for RC
walls and columns are identical in EC8. The denominator

HKIE Transactions
in Equation (7) has a similar form to that of Equation (6),
but the cylinder strength is used in RC designs with EC8.
If the design cylinder strength fcd in EC8 is converted to
the characteristic cube strength fcu , it can be shown below:

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fcd = 0.8fcu /c = 0.8fcu /1.5 = 0.53fcu .


The design axial force in Equation (7) consists of two
major components: (i) axial force induced by representative gravity action and (ii) axial force induced by seismic
action. Similar to the Chinese seismic code, the limits for
columns are less restrictive than walls and the representative gravity load is used by EC8 in calculation of the axial
force, in which the eect of seismic action for RC walls is
also included. Although axial forces incurred in cantilever
walls by seismic loads are relatively minor as compared
with permanent gravity action in general, coupled shear
walls have to bear signicantly extra axial forces incurred
by seismic action due to the coupling action aggregated
from the shear forces of coupling beams, which obviously
has a non-negligible eect on the seismic performance of
the walls. Therefore, amongst the three aforementioned
design codes, the denition of the axial compression ratio
used in EC8 can be considered as the most appropriate description of realistic stress states experienced by
RC structures during earthquakes. Actually, limits of the
axial compression ratio stipulated in EC8 can readily
be compared with experimental studies to see whether
the provisions can ensure sucient ductility of the RC
members.
New Zealand concrete code (NZS 3101:2006) and
other design codes
New Zealand concrete code NZS 3101:2006 [60] does not
have similar provisions on the axial force ratios as those
in the Hong Kong, GB and EC codes, but does specify

129

limiting sectional curvatures or strains in potential plastic


hinge regions for dierent RC members (Clause 2.6.1.3.4,
Part 1:2006). Limiting material strains is apparently the
most direct method to control curvature ductility of RC
members; however, whether it is sucient to prevent the
low cyclic fatigue phenomenon or rapid strength and stiness degradation of RC members under cyclic loading is
uncertain.
It is also worth mentioning that the United States (US)
ACI 318-11 [61] also does not introduce similar limits on the axial compression ratio for RC columns and
walls. Nevertheless, a standard for the seismic rehabilitation of buildings ASCE/SEI 41-06 [62] stated that RC
walls with axial loads greater than 35% of nominal axial
load strength P0 shall not be considered eective in resisting seismic forces. The Canadian concrete code CSA
A23.3-04 (R2010) [63] also stated that exural members
with factored axial loads in excess of 0.35P0 shall have
a nominal resistance greater than the induced member
force, i.e. not be designed to form potential plastic hinges
and dissipate energy in any circumstances under seismic
eects.
Comparisons of code provisions
Although the denitions of axial force ratio in the Hong
Kong, GB and EC codes are not the same, particularly the
axial forces in the numerators, the compressive strength
term in the denominators can conveniently be converted to the characteristic equivalent axial strength with
fck = 0.67fcu for comparison. Table 1 summarises the key
comparisons of the provisions on the axial compression
ratios dened in the three codes.
At rst sight, looking at the last row in Table 1, the
Hong Kong code has the least stringent limit on the axial
compression ratio for RC walls as compared with the
other two codes. In addition, it was noticed that the axial

Table 1. Comparisons of code provisions on axial compression ratios for RC walls.

Original denition of axial


compression ratio
Limit
Seismic/lateral force eects
Variable load reduction
Re-normalised axial
compression ratio limit vs
fck

HKConcrete2013

GB50011-2010

EC8

NW,HK
0.45fcu Ac

NW,C
fc A c

NED,EC
fcd Ac

0.75

NW,HK
0.50
fck Ac

0.4

0.5

0.6

Grade I, Intensity 9
Grade I, Intensity 7 or 8
Grade II or III
Grade IV

0.29 Grade I, Intensity 9

NW,C 0.36 Grade I, Intensity 7 or 8

0.43 Grade II or III


fck Ac

Grade IV

0.35 DCH
0.4
DCM

DCL

NED,EC
fck Ac

*Limits for Grades I, II and III short pier RC shear walls (4 < H /B 8) are 0.45, 0.50 and 0.55, respectively.




0.28 DCH
0.32 DCM

DCL

130

J.S. Kuang and Y.P. Yuen

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out-of-plane buckling. It can be shown, however, that


the limit of the HKConcrete2013 is somehow unjustiable in the sense of targeting to control the ductility
and is far beyond the other limits stipulated in GB and
EC8, if it is accepted that the ultimate design gravity
1.4Gk + 1.6Qk is eective in evaluating the axial compression ratio during exceptional loading cases. Therefore, the provision in the HKConcrete2013 on the axial
compression ratio for RC walls has some improvable aspects, including the denition, load combination
method and specied limit.

Figure 5. Code-specied axial compression ratio limits and


expected achievable ductility.

force in the numerator is generally much larger than those


of the GB and EC codes, where the full ultimate gravity
action is considered instead of the representative gravity action. For instance, if both sides of the inequality
are divided by 1.4 (a safety factor for dead loads in the
HKConcrete2013), the limit is immediately toughened to
0.36 and the possible reduction in variable or live loads
is not even considered yet. The limits of axial compression ratio stipulated in the Chinese code resemble those
in EC8, but again, the combinations of actions for calculating the axial forces are dierent in the two codes
as mentioned before. For cantilever walls, the Chinese
code is virtually more stringent because the safety factor
1.2 is used to amplify the action. But for coupled shear
walls, it is not conclusive in which one of the two codes
is more conservative, since the factor of 1.2 may not be
sucient to cover the exceeding axial forces induced by
the coupling action. Nevertheless, EC8 provides a more
realistic assessment for these cases by taking into the
consideration of seismic action or generally lateral force
eects.
If the relationship between the displacement ductility
and the axial compression ratio shown in Figure 2 is introduced again and plotted together with the code-specied
limits of the axial compression ratio, the expected achievable ductility of RC walls can clearly be evaluated
as shown in Figure 5. In general, the required displacement ductility for fully ductile structures under
moderate-to-high seismic eect should not be less than
3.5 [5] and EC8 provisions undoubtedly satisfy this target level of ductility. The Grade I structures designed
according to the Chinese code can also satisfy this
target, but the Grade II and III structures may only
have restricted inherent ductility and are susceptible to

Recommendations for possible amendments to


Clause 9.9.3, the HKConcrete2013
Based on the results of a comprehensive statistical analysis using 474 sets of experimental data and comparisons
with other design codes, the methods for calculating
the eective axial compression and the limiting value
of the axial compression ratio for RC structural walls
stipulated in the HKConcrete2013 may be amended and
improved on a more scientic basis. Recommendations
are made for possible amendments to Clause 9.9.3, the
HKConcrete2013 as follows:
(1) In Clause 9.9.3.3, the value of axial compression
should be calculated based on the realistic representative or the eective gravity action rather
than the ultimate gravity action; hence it should
be determined as follows:


ri Qki ,
(8)
NW,HK = 1.2 Gk +
i

where ri is the combination coecient ( 1)


reducing the imposed action Qki to the corresponding eective gravity action during rare
loading cases. Values of ri for various actions
in dierent usage can be taken from Table 2. The
factor of 1.2 is used to account for incurred axial
force due to excluded actions.
(2) As Hong Kong is a region of moderate
seismicity,[19] for the design of building structures, it would be appropriate to design for displacement ductility values  corresponding to
the structures of limited ductility [64] and the
ductility factor may be taken as 2 <  4.
Referring to the results of the comprehensive
statistical analysis presented in Figure 5, a reasonable limit on the axial compression ratio of RC
structural walls is found and given as follows:
ncr =

N  W,HK
0.4.
fck Ac

(9)

HKIE Transactions
Table 2.

Values of ri for various imposed actions.

Specic use

Storey

Areas for domestic and residential


activities, oces and places where
people may congregate.

Examples

Roof
Storeys with correlated
occupancies.
Independently occupied storeys.

Areas in retail shops, department


stores, storage, industrial use and
accumulation of goods may occur.

By rewriting Equation (9) and taking fck = 0.67fcu ,


then the axial compression ratio of RC structural walls
is given as follows:

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131

ncr =

N  W,HK
0.27.
fcu Ac

(10)

To preserve the clear physical meaning of the axial


compression ratio, it is not necessary for the factor of 0.45
to be included in the denominator (Equation (5)).
Conclusions
Excellent lateral stability and drift ductility of reinforced
concrete shear walls are important in the design of
medium-to-high-rise buildings to resist seismic actions
and other exceptional loads. However, shear walls in
modern buildings are often subjected to very high axial
compression, which has been pushing the limits of the
conventional design and analysis theories.
A comprehensive statistical analysis using 474 sets
of experimental data was conducted to investigate the
eect of the axial compression ratio on the structural performance of various types of RC structural wall. It was
shown that the ductility of shear walls generally diminished with an increase in axial compression ratio, and
this trend was particularly noticeable for slender walls
with an aspect ratio greater than 1.5. Provisions on the
limits of the axial compression ratio stipulated in various design codes of practice were then compared. The
expected attainable ductility of RC walls designed to
dierent codes was evaluated and compared with the
statistical analysis results.
Based on the analysis results, recommendations were
made for possible amendments to Clause 9.9.3 detailing for ductility of walls in the HKConcrete2013 [18]
for calculation of the eective axial compression and
determination of the limiting value of the axial compression ratio. The suggested amendments include: (1) the
calculation of the eective axial compression in RC structural walls should be based on a realistic, representative
gravity action; and (2) the limiting value for the axial
compression ratio should guarantee that well-detailed RC
structural walls can attain moderate or at least restricted
ductility.

ri

School, theatre, etc.

1.0
0.8

Dwelling area, restaurant, etc.

0.5

Warehouse, library, mechanical


room, etc.

1.0

Funding
This work was supported by the Hong Kong Research Grants
Council [grant number 614011].

Notes on contributors
Ir Prof J S Kuang is a Professor of
Civil and Environmental Engineering,
the Hong Kong University of Science
and Technology. His areas of expertise span seismic engineering, with an
emphasis on seismic design and the
behaviour of concrete structures, seismic vulnerability assessment of tall
buildings, large-scale testing of structural concrete, and computational mechanics and simulation
in structural engineering. Ir Prof Kuangs awards include the
Telford Premium and the TK Hsieh Award from the Institution of Civil Engineers UK in 2014 and 2006, respectively, and
the HKIE Transactions Prize from the Hong Kong Institution of
Engineers in 2007.

Dr Y P Yuen is currently an Assistant


Professor of the Department of Civil
Engineering at the Bursa Orhangazi
University, Turkey. His research interests include seismic analysis and engineering of building and bridge structures, theoretical and computational
mechanics of materials, reinforced
concrete and masonry structures, and
tall building structures. Dr Yuen is the recipient of the 2014
Telford Premium from the Institution of Civil Engineers in the
UK, presented for the best paper on engineering and computational mechanics.

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