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Publisher: Taylor & Francis

Informa Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered

office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK

Civil Engineering

Publication details, including instructions for authors and

subscription information:

http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/tece20

interaction: literature overview and

state of the art of macromodeling

approach

a a a

Fabio Di Trapani , Giuseppe Macaluso , Liborio Cavaleri &

a

Maurizio Papia

a

Department of Civil, Environmental, Aerospace and Materials

Engineering (DICAM), University of Palermo, 90128 Viale delle

Scienze, Palermo, Italy

Published online: 07 Jan 2015.

Click for updates

To cite this article: Fabio Di Trapani, Giuseppe Macaluso, Liborio Cavaleri & Maurizio Papia

(2015): Masonry infills and RC frames interaction: literature overview and state of the art

of macromodeling approach, European Journal of Environmental and Civil Engineering, DOI:

10.1080/19648189.2014.996671

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Downloaded by [George Mason University] at 02:40 09 January 2015

European Journal of Environmental and Civil Engineering, 2015

http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19648189.2014.996671

state of the art of macromodeling approach

Fabio Di Trapani*, Giuseppe Macaluso, Liborio Cavaleri and Maurizio Papia

of Palermo, 90128 Viale delle Scienze, Palermo, Italy

(Received 1 July 2014; accepted 5 December 2014)

Downloaded by [George Mason University] at 02:40 09 January 2015

The issue of the inﬂuence of masonry inﬁlls within RC frames structures has been

widely investigated in the last decades by several researchers. The large interest

addressed to this topic depends on the actual observation that when in presence of

seismic events, the response of framed structures is strongly conditioned by the inter-

action with the inﬁll walls, which however are considered as non-structural elements

and not included in the models. The inﬂuence of masonry inﬁlls role in structural

response is so much relevant to affect not only the overall strength and the stiffness

but it may also radically change the possible collapse mechanisms of the overall struc-

tural complex under the effect of strong ground motions. Inﬁll panels may have a ben-

eﬁcial effect on the structural response, being able in some cases to supply the lack of

resistance of structures to lateral actions, or an adverse contribution inducing unex-

pected and dangerous non-ductile collapse mechanisms. However, the studies carried

out on this topic have demonstrated that, independently from the beneﬁcial or adverse

contribution of masonry inﬁlls on structural response, their presence cannot be

neglected in structural modelling both in design and veriﬁcation phases. The paper

provides a large literature review regarding the modelling techniques developed in the

last decades, going from reﬁned nonlinear FE micromodel approaches to simpliﬁed

equivalent single or multiple strut macromodels including also different technical code

statements. The reliability of these approaches is discussed highlighting advantages

and weakness points. Macromodelling approach is particularly pointed out since it

constitutes the most attractive technique to perform complex nonlinear analyses (static

and dynamic). A state of the art of the main issues regarding equivalent strut identiﬁ-

cation (stiffness, constitutive law and cyclic behaviour) across scientiﬁc literature is

provided describing in detail noteworthy aspects of some approaches.

Keywords: inﬁlled frames; masonry; interaction; reinforced concrete; macromodel;

micromodel

1. Introduction

Reinforced concrete-framed structures, inﬁlled with masonry panels, are widespread and

commonly employed in worldwide building traditions. The need to arrange inﬁll walls

in framed structures naturally arises by the necessity to create a separation between

internal space of buildings and external environment. However, above all in the past,

masonry inﬁlls were always thought as secondary elements, and engineers did not intro-

duced them in their models or calculations just because inﬁlls did not have to play any

structural function.

2 F. Di Trapani et al.

It was only after signiﬁcant seismic events that the observation of the damage for

these buildings has shown that interaction between masonry inﬁlls and frames had a

signiﬁcant role in overall seismic response and capacity that was quite different case by

case.

The topic of masonry inﬁlled and RC frames interaction has a wide literature and is

studied for 50 years and is today not deﬁnitively assessed in all its aspects also because

the role of masonry inﬁlls may or may not be beneﬁcial when seismic events occur.

Focusing the attention on the single inﬁlled frame subjected to a lateral action, it is

anyway undeniable that masonry inﬁlls contribute with a strong stiffening effect that is

generally associated with a strength increasing and a reduction of lateral displacement

capacity.

Even if the behaviour of a single inﬁlled frame may be easy to predict, the

contribution given at the scale of an entire building is affected by several uncertainties

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Generally, the contribution of inﬁlls on the overall capacity of structures is strongly

dependant on regularity of their distribution in plan and over the height. A regular dis-

tribution of inﬁlls has a beneﬁcial effect, especially for non-seismic designed buildings,

increasing their global bearing capacity and stiffness under lateral actions. On the other

hand, irregular distributions of panels may be really dangerous being the cause of a

potential anticipation of the collapse when seismic events occur. When inﬁlls are not

uniformly distributed in plan and mainly concentrated in some areas, their strong stiffen-

ing capacity may cause a signiﬁcant shifting of the stiffness centroid. This fact produces

as ﬁrst effect the modiﬁcation of the actual dynamical modal properties with respect to

those expected during the design phases. The participating mass ratio is spread out on

higher modes not accounted and potentially dangerous. Moreover, the increasing of the

distance between the centre of mass and the centre of stiffness generates additional

torsional effects during the seismic event.

When irregular distribution of inﬁlls occurs over the height of buildings, it generally

produces strong differences of storeys strength and stiffness being the potential cause of

soft storey collapse mechanisms. In this case, the damage is concentrated only in the

storeys where inﬁlls are missing with fatal consequences (Figure 1).

Moreover, it should be also noticed that that even if the distribution of inﬁlls is reg-

ular in plan and over the height, the increase of stiffness causes higher restoring forces

that should be carried by the inﬁll panels. This fact has a positive contribution to the

earthquake resistance until the force components that the panel transfers to the surround-

ing frame are compatible with the resistances of the RC members and joints. In fact, the

effects caused by the local interaction require the frame elements to have a bearing

capacity that can exceed design values to support the efforts increase transferred by the

inﬁll. Especially in the case of low shear reinforced elements with no seismic detailing,

this may cause the local brittle shear collapses of the columns and even of the nodes

strongly compromising the overall capacity (Figure 2).

Other collapse mechanisms due to the inﬁll–frame interaction occur when inﬁlls

present openings adjacent to the column in such a way the panel is shorter than the col-

umn itself. This fact modiﬁes the design length of the column causing an unexpected

increase of local shear demand. In these cases, the columns undergo an anticipated

collapse that depends on the aspect ratio and on the free length of the column. If the

columns is squat shear failure occurs, otherwise the collapse is due a double plastic

hinge mechanism (Figure 3(a) and (b)).

European Journal of Environmental and Civil Engineering 3

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Figure 1. Samples of collapses occurred for irregular distribution of inﬁlls over the height.

Despite the presence of masonry inﬁll may produce an undesired behaviour of the

structure under seismic events, in many cases they become fundamental for the capacity

of structures to resist to earthquakes, especially when these are not seismically designed.

This has been demonstrated by the observation and evaluation of post-seismic damage.

An example is reported in Figure 4 for a RC building, where the plaster detachment

showed that the inﬁlls contributed to increase the lateral strength and stiffness of the

structure in the lower stories where the shear demand is maximum.

Independently from their positive or negative contribution on seismic response of

structures what is clear is that inﬁll–frame interaction cannot be neglected in structural

models as usually is done in practical engineering. A really wide number of studies

have been provided by researchers from the entire world who proposed modelling strat-

egies which differ for the physical approach followed, complexity, aim and reliability

limits. Also different technical codes treat the question of modelling inﬁll–frame interac-

tion even if their recommendations are not mandatory in many cases neither detailed

and clear rules are provided.

In the further sections, a general overview of the mechanical approaches available in

the literature is provided with a critical discussion on their reliability and practical appli-

cability, involving also different technical codes methods. Subsequently, literature equiv-

alent strut macromodels are deeply discussed and a state of the art of main structural

identiﬁcation issues involving this structural approach is faced. In this section, some

approaches considered as reference are described in detail.

4 F. Di Trapani et al.

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Figure 2. Effects of local inﬁll–frame interaction: Sample of local shear collapse of column ends

and joints due to the interaction with the inﬁlls.

Figure 3. Frame-inﬁll interaction effects: local collapse due to the different inﬁll–column height:

(a) short column double plastic hinge mechanism; (b) short column shear failure.

approaches

The variability of the behaviour of the inﬁlled frame systems makes not easy to ﬁnd

mechanical models being computationally simple and able to capture all the involved

aspects. In the last decades, several researchers provided experimental and analytical

studies proposing modelling strategies to predict and introduce in practical technique the

above-discussed interaction effects. From a general point of view, the inﬁll–frame

interaction has been substantially faced by two main approaches: macromodelling and

European Journal of Environmental and Civil Engineering 5

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typology of investigation that is needed (linear or nonlinear behaviour of the materials,

monotonic or cyclic loading).

The macromodel approach (Figure 5) is based on replacing masonry inﬁlls by means

of one (or more) equivalent pin-jointed struts for each inﬁll. This technique is the most

frequently used in practice to perform linear/nonlinear static or dynamic analyses

because of its simplicity and a lower computational effort required. Most of the techni-

cal codes also suggest macromodelling approach for seismic assessment of inﬁlled

framed structures.

Besides the attribution of geometrical dimensions of the cross section, the identiﬁca-

tion of the equivalent diagonal strut requires the assignment of speciﬁed mechanical

characteristics for the strut depending on the properties of the actual system. Especially

for masonries constituting inﬁlls of existing buildings, the identiﬁcation of the necessary

information is affected by a large uncertainty since this depend not only on masonry

properties (which are not easy themselves to determine) but also on manufacturing and

Figure 5. Macromodel approach: (a) actual system; (b) equivalent braced system.

6 F. Di Trapani et al.

local arrangement details. In a few words, the macromodel should summarise all this

aspects with a single strut able to account for strength, stiffness and damaging. The

number of information needed for the identiﬁcation depends in fact strongly on the

assessment approach (e.g. linear or nonlinear analysis) which is necessary to carry out.

For a complete identiﬁcation of the equivalent strut is necessary to determine at least:

(a) the initial stiffness, (b) the peak strength, (c) the constitutive law shape (monotonic

or cyclic).

The ﬁrst studies on this topic are due to Holmes (1961), who worked with brick

masonry inﬁlled steel frames. He proposed the empiric rule to replace the panel with an

equivalent diagonal strut, having cross section width w equal to 1/3 of the diagonal

length d. Afterwards, several other researchers proposed more detailed methods mainly

basing the identiﬁcation of the equivalent width on the ratio between the elastic charac-

teristics of the inﬁll and the surrounding frame (e.g. Dawe & Seah, 1989; Durrani &

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Luo, 1994; Mainstone, 1971, 1974; Saneinejad & Hobbs, 1995; Stafford Smith, 1966;

Stafford Smith & Carter, 1969). In the more recent past, Papia, Cavaleri, and Fossetti,

(2003) proposed an identiﬁcation technique that introduces the dependence of the strut

width not only on the stiffness ratios between frame and inﬁll but also on the mechani-

cal elastic properties of the inﬁll along the diagonal direction. The deﬁnition of the elas-

tic properties of masonry inﬁll panels along a generic direction was subsequently treated

by Cavaleri, Di Trapani, Macaluso, and Colajanni (2014). Other authors (Amato,

Cavaleri, Fossetti, & Papia, 2008; Amato, Fossetti, Cavaleri, & Papia 2009) introduced

a further dependence of the stiffness of the equivalent strut on the vertical load transmit-

ted by the frame to the inﬁll walls. An alternative method, based on a dynamic

structural identiﬁcation strategy, was also introduced by Cavaleri and Papia (2003).

Regarding to the deﬁnition of the constitutive law for the equivalent strut, the study

by Panagiotakos and Fardis (1996), should be mentioned. In their paper, the authors

determine the yielding force, corresponding to the ﬁrst cracking of the inﬁll, considering

the tensile strength of the masonry evaluated by diagonal tests. In another study,

Bertoldi, Decanini, and Gavarini (1993) proposed to choose the maximum strength of

the strut depending on the possible failure mechanisms of the masonry panel.

The ﬁrst experimental and analytical studies on the cyclic behaviour of inﬁlled

frames structures refer to Klingner and Bertero (1978), who investigated on the effect of

cyclic loads by testing portions of multi-storey buildings and also provided a ﬁrst hys-

teretic macromodel. Later, Doudoumis and Mitsopoulou (1986), introduced a cyclic hys-

teretic model providing for the ﬁrst time an initial no-stress branch due to shrinkage of

contact zones. Experimental pseudo-dynamic tests on masonry inﬁlled RC frames were

carried out by Mander and Nair (1994) and Mander, Nair, Wojtkowski, and Ma (1993)

and Mehrabi, Shing, Schuler, and Noland (1996) who also provided a cyclic law based

on the results of tested inﬁlled frames specimens Figure 6.

Other hysteretic models were subsequently developed starting from different consider-

ations. Madan, Reinhorn, Mander, and Valles (1997) proposed a hysteretic single strut

model which included strength and stiffness reduction and pinching effect. In a more

recent study, Cavaleri, Fossetti, and Papia (2005) introduced a detailed force–displacement

law accounting for cyclic or monotonic behaviour of an equivalent strut providing a ﬁrst

experimental calibration of the parameters involved.

After the development of several studies on single strut macromodels, some authors,

recognising the importance to account for the local shear stresses transferred by the

inﬁlls to the surrounding frame, introduced the possibility to use a multiple strut

conﬁguration providing two or three struts. Among those studies, Crisafulli (1997),

European Journal of Environmental and Civil Engineering 7

Figure 6. Cyclic tests of inﬁlled frames arranged with masonry panels having different strength

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In a further work, Crisafulli and Carr (2007), developed a detailed multi-strut macro-

model including in addition to classical truss elements, governed by axial compressive

laws, a special shear frictional strut to account for the vertical load inﬂuence on the

overall strength of the panel (Figure 7(a)).

Chrysostomou, Gergely, and Abel (2002) aimed to obtain the response of inﬁlled

frames taking into account both stiffness and strength degradation of inﬁlls. They

proposed to model each inﬁll panel using six compression only diagonal struts

(Figure 7(b)).

El-Dakhakhni, Elgaaly, and Hamid (2003) (Figure 8) proposed a 3 strut model

(having 1 concentric and 2 eccentric struts) in order to provide as much as possible a

realistic distribution of moment and shear forces on the frame elements. Simultaneously

to the development of macromodelling techniques, a substantially different approach has

been instead followed by other researchers who adopted an “exact representation” of

inﬁlls (micromodelling) to better reproduce frame–inﬁll interaction. According to this

Figure 7. Multiple strut macromodels: (a) double strut macromodel with shear spring (Crisafulli

& Carr, 2007); (b) six-strut macromodel (Chrysostomou et al., 2002).

8 F. Di Trapani et al.

approach, the inﬁll panel is modelled by means of planar shell ﬁnite elements while the

frame may be modelled by shell elements or beam elements. The deﬁnition of the inter-

face between the inﬁll and the frame constitutes a quite sensitive question that was trea-

ted in different ways by the authors. Most of them used interface elements able to

reproduce frictional effects and frame–inﬁll detachment in contact regions.

Such typology of approach, which is aimed at providing a more accurate response,

is able to capture well local interaction effects and frame global internal force distribu-

tion. However, the calibration of several sensitive parameters is required to obtain reli-

able results. The ﬁrst studies referring to this approach are due to Mallick and Severn

(1967), who adopted shell elements to model the inﬁll and beam element for the frame

(Figure 9) in order to evaluate the stiffening effects on one-storey/one-bay frames.

With same target Papia (1988), by means of a reﬁned coupled FEM–BEM approach

(Figure 10) investigated on the modiﬁcation of the overall stiffness with the variation of

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Also in Asteris (2003), the question of the lateral stiffness is pointed out. The atten-

tion is focused on the inﬂuence of the openings in masonry panels with the variation of

their extension and collocation (Figure 11).

European Journal of Environmental and Civil Engineering 9

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were developed by Mehrabi and Shing (1997), and Shing and Mehrabi (2002), making

use of smeared cracking elements (Lofti & Shing, 1991) and discrete cracking elements

(Lofti & Shing, 1994) in order to capture the shear failure of reinforced concrete ele-

ment and the sliding of the masonry units through dilatant interface models (Figure 12).

Other authors (Giambanco, Fileccia Scimemi, & Spada, 2012; Spada, Giambanco, &

Rizzo, 2009) provided reﬁned solutions in simulating masonry panel mechanics by the

use of a mesoscopic approach.

Based on a similar approach, Koutromanos, Stavridis, Shing, and Willam (2011)

provided a numerical/experimental comparison of inﬁlled frames specimens (Figure 13),

tested with a quasi-static cyclical loading and a full scale frame tested on a shake table.

They demonstrated a good agreement of the developed technique with the experimental

results in terms of prediction of dynamic response and cracking pattern propagation on

the masonry inﬁll and the frame.

FE micromodels have been chosen also by researchers who investigated the issue of

the local shear efforts requested in the nodal regions of frame members due to the inter-

action with inﬁlls under lateral loads. Fiore, Netti, and Monaco (2012) investigated the

inﬂuence of these forces through an elastic FE model deriving also and equivalent dou-

ble strut model to be used in practical case. Other authors (Cavaleri et al., 2013, 2014;

Doudoumis, 2007) used a mixed technique, adopting frame boundary elements for RC

members and shell elements for inﬁll panels. In the latter work, the investigation was

performed with an nonlinear model and an analytical correlation between shear

Figure 10. FEM-BEM model for the inﬁlled frame (Papia, 1988).

10 F. Di Trapani et al.

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Figure 11. Evaluation of stiffness of inﬁlled frames with openings through FE micromodeling

(Asteris, 2003).

Figure 12. Nonlinear numerical modelling of inﬁlled frames (Mehrabi & Shing, 1997).

Figure 13. Nonlinear numerical modelling of inﬁlled frames (Koutromanos et al., 2011).

European Journal of Environmental and Civil Engineering 11

system was established.

The literature overview presented above underlines that the question of the assess-

ment of the seismic behaviour of inﬁlled frames has been treated a long in the past and

continue nowadays to be a current issue presenting several still open questions. The

discussed models going from the most simple to the most complex always have the

common difﬁculty to be simultaneously accurate, computationally affordable and of

easy identiﬁcation.

The single strut macromodels represent the easiest way to introduce the presence of

the inﬁll panels in models in practical engineering. They are suitable for analysis of

complex structures and easy to identify. They are moreover able to provide a good

approximation despite their simplicity. Their limit mainly lies in the concentric conﬁgu-

ration of the equivalent strut which makes not possible to account for the shear trans-

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mission in critical sections. Although this question may result less relevant for buildings

having sufﬁcient shear reinforcement or weak inﬁlls, it becomes a quite sensitive issue

when non-seismically designed buildings are analysed. The multiple strut conﬁgurations

are able to overcome this problem but are affected by uncertainties arising for their

calibration, especially to perform nonlinear static or time history analyses.

Among the above-mentioned models, those including the cyclic behaviour often

depend in fact on a large number of parameters. In the case of multiple strut conﬁgura-

tions (double, triple pin-jointed struts or mixed axial and shear struts), the assessment of

a constitutive monotonic or cyclic law is needed for each strut.

Finally, FE micromodels represent the most accurate approach to capture the frame–

inﬁll interaction being also the most similar to the real physic of the problem. Besides

the stiffening effects, micromodels are able to well represent through interface elements

complex issues such as the local frame–inﬁll interaction, the sliding of the units along

mortar joints, the cracking propagation on inﬁlls and reinforced concrete elements.

Although this advantage they still present a double difﬁculty. The ﬁrst one regards a

proper calibration that may be really difﬁcult to provide, requiring, especially for nonlin-

ear cases, the knowledge of several parameters and a sufﬁcient experience to handle this

kind of modelling. The second, and more relevant, is related to the high computational

effort needed. The application of micromodelling to complex structural system is in fact

nowadays prohibitive for the large time that is required, limiting the use of FE nonlinear

micromodels to simple case study. FE models represent anyway fundamental resource

for research purposes being suitable as reference models to develop simpliﬁed tech-

niques and to study problems which require a reﬁned representation.

A summary chart of the inﬁll–frame modelling techniques available in literature and

here discussed is below reported (Figure 14).

Also technical codes deal with inﬁll–frame interaction. Eurocode 8 (2004), recommends

to consider inﬁlls in models when their contribution may signiﬁcantly inﬂuence lateral

stiffness and strength. To consider possible planar irregularities in plan, it is stated to

include inﬁll walls in models performing a sensitivity analysis regarding their position

and their properties.

Referring to a possible non-uniform distribution of inﬁlls over the structural height,

EC8 states that if more accurate models are not used an ampliﬁcation of seismic action

should be considered by the magniﬁcation factor η that is:

12 F. Di Trapani et al.

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DWRw

g¼1þ (1)

DWSd

In Equation (1), ΔWRw is the strength reduction of the current storey with respect to the

upper inﬁlled one while ΔWSd is the sum of the seismic shear forces acting at the top of

considered storey.

Despite EC8 often suggests to use reliable models, the code itself does not provide

any modelling approach as guide for designers in practical applications.

Similarly, Italian technical code (DM (Ministerial Decree), 2008) suggests to amplify

forces in potentially soft stories multiplying by a ﬁxed magniﬁcation factor of 1.4. Also

here no modelling criteria for more complex analyses can be found in the code.

Conversely to Eurocode 8 and Italian code, the Federal Emergency Management

Agency (FEMA) code 356, 2000 provides a clearer deﬁnition of how to consider inﬁlls

in structural models. In particular the code gives the possibility to use a FE model for

the panel or, alternatively, the introduction of a diagonal braced strut having the same

thickness and Young modulus of the masonry inﬁll and an equivalent width w

calculated using the expression provided by Mainstone (1974):

0:4

w ¼ 0:175 ðk1 h0 Þ d (2)

h′ being the height of the frame (between the centre-lines of the beams) and d is the

measure of the diagonal dimension (Figure 15). In Equation (2), the parameter λ1 has

the following expression:

1

Ed t sin 2h 4

k1 ¼ (3)

4 Ef Ic h

in which t is the thickness of the inﬁll, h and l the height and length. The angle θ repre-

sents the slope of the strut and is evaluable as θ = atan(h/l), Ic is the moment of inertia

of the columns and Ed and Ef the Young’s modulus of the inﬁll and of the concrete

frame, respectively.

In FEMA, the question of local interaction effects is also accounted. The code itself

speciﬁes that beams and columns adjacent to inﬁlls should have sufﬁcient strength to

support local shear effects arising from the inﬁll–frame interaction in presence of lateral

actions. If more reﬁned models are not used, the FEMA code states that ﬂexural and

shear strength of beams and columns ends should exceed the internal forces evaluated

European Journal of Environmental and Civil Engineering 13

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by the application, at a speciﬁed length (Equations 4–5), of the horizontal and vertical

components of the axial force on the equivalent struts (Figure 16).

w h lceff

lceff ¼ ; tan hc ¼ (4)

cos hc ‘

w h

lbeff ¼ ; tan hb ¼ (5)

sin hb ‘ lbeff

Further, it is required to verify also the shear request associated with a possible double

mechanism originating by the activation of plastic hinges at the ends of the reduced

lengths lceff and lbeff.

strut models: A state of the art

4.1. The issue of the identiﬁcation of the equivalent strut width

The ﬁrst step in macromodelling approach is the assessment of the equivalent strut

width (w) to assign to the cross section in order to effectively reproduce the interaction

between inﬁll and frames ﬁrst of all regarding to stiffening effects.

Figure 16. Schemes for the evaluation of local effect in FEMA 356 code: (a) on columns; (b)

on beams.

14 F. Di Trapani et al.

Many factors inﬂuence the equivalent width to attribute to the strut and it is impor-

tant to underline that they are not simply related to the features of the masonry inﬁll but

more properly on a ratio between inﬁll properties and masonry properties. The stiffening

ratio between inﬁll and frame plays a fundamental role, demonstrated by experimental

tests evidencing the correlation between the inﬁll–frame interface contact length under

lateral loads and the relative stiffness. If the stiffness of the frame increases, the contact

length grows too increasing the stiffness of the system. Many studies therefore focused

their results on the determination of this length.

In 1961, Holmes observed the contact length of masonry inﬁlled steel frames deter-

mining the ﬁrst empiric rule for the equivalent strut: the replacement of the inﬁll with a

pinned strut having the same thickness of the inﬁll and a width equal to 1/3 of the

diagonal length (Equation (6)).

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w 1

¼ (6)

d 3

In his work, Holmes proposed also a simple experimentally calibrated procedure to

determine the maximum load and the ultimate displacement of the system.

A ﬁrst theoretical approach was provided by Stafford Smith (1966). After an experi-

mental investigation on diagonally loaded square-inﬁlled steel frames, he developed the

idea of the strut suggested by Holmes providing an empirical curve for the evaluation

of its dimensions. The experimental and analytical investigations showed a certain anal-

ogy between the frame–inﬁll contact length α and the behaviour of a beam on an elastic

foundation, so the deﬁnition of the dimensionless parameter

sﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ

Ei t

kh0 ¼ h0 4 (7)

4Ef If h

was proposed in order to characterise the column-inﬁll contact length and, consequently,

the stiffness of the system. A scheme of the system considered is reported in Figure 17.

In Equation (7), t and h are the thickness and the height of the inﬁll, respectively; h′

is the height of the frame, measured between the centrelines of the beams; Ei is the

Young modulus of the masonry while Ef and If are the Young moduli of the material

European Journal of Environmental and Civil Engineering 15

constituting the frame and the moment of inertia of the cross-sectional area of the frame

elements (beams and columns having the same dimensions).

The curve provided by Stafford Smith was based on experimental evidence and on

the results of several numerical investigations carried out by means of the ﬁnite differ-

ence method. It provides the dimensionless parameter w/d for a ﬁxed value of λh′.

Referring to inﬁlled frames subjected to vertical and lateral loads, Stafford Smith

observed an increase in the horizontal stiffness when a vertical load was applied as a

consequence of the increase of the length of contact of the beam on the inﬁll, but no

parameters were inserted in order to account for this phenomenon.

Later, Stafford Smith and Carter (1969), extended the concepts developed before to

the case of rectangular frames, deﬁning the parameter

sﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ

Ei t sinð2hÞ

kh0 ¼ h0 4

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(8)

4Ef Ic h

θ being the slope of the diagonal and Ic the moment of inertia of the columns. Different

curves w/d-λh′ have been deﬁned with variation of the value of θ. Further, the inﬂuence

of the inﬁll stress state along the diagonal direction was considered in the evaluation of

w. A set of curves was derived for different stress levels and ﬁxed ratio l/h. By the com-

parison of these curves with the one provided in the previous study, it is not clear how

the former are related to the latter. Moreover, it should be observed that no analytical

form of the curves mentioned before is provided, so every comparison has to be per-

formed graphically. Further, Klingner and Bertero (1978), conﬁrmed the validity of the

expression proposed by Mainstone (Equation (2)) experimentally working on inﬁlls con-

nected to the frame by means of proper reinforcement. Nevertheless, by the comparison

of the curves w/d-λh′ expressed by Equation (2) with the curves provided in

(Figure 18(a)), one concludes that a lower stiffness is obtained despite a stronger

frame–inﬁll connection.

Durrani and Luo (1994), always basing on the results of Mainstone, proposed the

following analytical relationship for the evaluation of the width of the strut:

Figure 18. Comparison between w/d-λh′ curves: (a) Stafford Smith and Carter (1969) and

Klingner and Bertero (1978); (b) Stafford Smith (1966) and Durrani and Luo (1994).

16 F. Di Trapani et al.

0:1

w Ei t h04

¼ 0:32sin ð2hÞ

1:5

(9)

d m E c Ic h

where

6 I b h0

m ¼ 6 1 þ arctg (10)

p Ic ‘ 0

and Ib is the moment of inertia of the beam cross section. In Figure 18(b), the results

provided by Equation (9) for square-inﬁlled frames with Ib =Ic ¼ 1. are shown and com-

pared with the ones given in Stafford Smith (1966). The two formulations show a good

agreement.

An alternative approach was proposed by Saneinejad and Hobbs (1995), who con-

sidered the equilibrium of the scheme reported in Figure 19. The width of the equivalent

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strut is still correlated with the length of the contact zones which depend on the plastic

moments of the RC elements. Analytical results were calibrated on experimental tests

by varying the frame strength. The procedure was supported by a detailed numerical FE

analyses. If results of this approach are compared in terms of initial lateral stiffness with

the ones obtainable by Mainstone (1974) and Stafford Smith (1966) signiﬁcantly

different values of w/d are obtained.

This partial review of the experimental and analytical investigations shows that the

results obtained by different researchers are strongly inﬂuenced by the types of inﬁll

and test, and this conclusion is conﬁrmed by examining and comparing results of other

researches (e.g. Bertero & Brokken, 1983; Madan et al., 1997; Mehrabi & Shing, 1997;

Panagiotakos & Fardis, 1996; Valiasis, Stylianidis, & Penelis, 1993).

Based on this realisation, Papia et al. (2003) developed a procedure for modelling

the behaviour of inﬁlled frames to be adapted to any particular situation that is here

described more in detail.

The identiﬁcation of the equivalent pin-jointed strut is made by imposing the condi-

tion that the initial stiffness of the actual system (Figure 20(a)) is equal to the initial

stiffness of the equivalent braced frame (Figure 20(b)). It can be assumed that the

Figure 19. Equilibrium of the forced acting on the inﬁlled frame system (Saneinejad & Hobbs,

1995).

European Journal of Environmental and Civil Engineering 17

Figure 20. Structural schemes considered in Papia et al. (2003): (a) FEM-BEM Model; (b)

braced frame with equivalent strut.

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approach, performed by adopting for the inﬁll a FE discretisation while frame elements

are discretised in agreement with the Boundary Element Method. This method allows

an easy and reliable resolution of the contact problem in the regions in which frame and

inﬁll transmit mutual compressive stresses. The shear stress in these regions is assumed

to be governed by the Coulomb friction law.

If the problem is ﬁrst solved by means of the micromodelling approach and subse-

quently by means of the simpliﬁed scheme then, by imposing the equivalence of the

stiffness obtained from the two models, the width of the strut can be evaluated.

Denoting as D i and Di the stiffness of the two schemes, the stiffness equivalence is

written as:

i

Di ¼ D (11)

The lateral stiffness of the system in Figure 20(b), equivalent to the scheme in

Figure 20(a), can be determined in the unknown w.

Considering a horizontal force applied to the schemes in Figure 21(b) and (c) pro-

ducing a unitary displacement in the middle of the beam, it can be easily demonstrated

that the equivalent stiffness of the braced system in Figure 21(a) is evaluable sum of the

single stiffness of the schemes in Figure 21(b) (Dd) and (c) (Df ) as:

1 !

kd cos2 h Ef Ic I b h0

Di ¼ Df þ Dd ¼ þ 24 03 1 1:5 3 0 þ 2 (12)

1 þ kkdc sen2 h þ 14 kkd cos2 h

b

h Ic l

Ed t w Ef Ac Ef Ab

kd ¼ ; kc ¼ ; kb ¼ (13)

d h0 ‘0

In Equations (12) and (13), Ed and Ef are, respectively, the Young moduli of the inﬁll

along the diagonal direction and the Young modulus of the frame while Ac and Ab are

i . is known, the

the cross-sectional areas of beams and columns. Since the stiffness D

equivalence in Equation (11) allows calculating the width w of the equivalent strut by

Equation (12). This operation can be done for any geometrical and mechanical

characteristic assignments of the inﬁll–frame system.

By setting the parameter λ* as

18 F. Di Trapani et al.

Figure 21. Decomposition of later stiffness of macromodel considered in Papia et al. (2003).

!

Ed th0 h0 2 1 Ac ‘0

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k ¼ þ (14)

Ef Ac ‘0 2 4 Ab h0

this deﬁnes the mechanical degree of coupling of the inﬁll–frame system. The authors

using the described procedure determined numerically a suitable correlation between this

parameter and the dimensionless width w/d of the equivalent strut (Figure 22).

The numerical values of w/d obtained in such way can be ﬁtted by the analytical

expression:

w c 1

¼ (15)

d z ðk Þb

In which, c and β depend on the Poisson’s ratio νd of the inﬁll along the diagonal

direction according to the following expressions:

c ¼ 0; 249 0; 0116 md þ 0; 567 md 2

(16)

b ¼ 0; 146 0; 0073 md þ 0; 126 md 2

and the term z may take the values

1 if ‘=h ¼ 1

z ¼ (17)

1:125 if ‘=h ¼ 1:5

Equation (15) represents a useful tool for the direct estimation of the equivalent width

strut by simply assigning the geometrical and mechanical properties of the inﬁll–frame

system. The width of the structure depends on the Young modulus Ed and on the

Poisson ration νd both calculated along the diagonal direction. In a further study,

Cavaleri et al. (2014) proposed a strategy for the evaluation of these values starting

from the elastic properties of the masonry panel on its principal direction by means of

the following relationships (Jones, 1998)

1 1 1 2v12 1

¼ ðcos hÞ4 þ ðsen h cos hÞ2 þ ðsen hÞ4 (18)

Ed E1 G12 E1 E2

v12 1 1 1

md ¼ E d ððsen hÞ4 þ ðcos hÞ4 þ ðsen h cos hÞ2 (19)

E1 E1 E2 G12

An updated expression of the Equation (15) was provided in where it is introduced the

equivalent strut stiffness also on the level of vertical load transferred from the frame to

the inﬁll. The expression of w/d becomes as follows:

European Journal of Environmental and Civil Engineering 19

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Figure 22. Numerical values of w/d with variation of λ* and ﬁtting curves for aspect ratios

l/h = 1.0 and l/h = 1.5 (Papia et al., 2003).

w c 1

¼j (20)

d z ðk Þb

The coefﬁcient κ depends on the amount of the vertical deformation of columns εv

produced by the total vertical load Fv acting at their top

Fv

j ¼ 1 þ ð18k þ 200Þev ; ev (21)

2Ac Ef

When nonlinear analyses of inﬁlled RC frame structures are needed, the assessment of a

complete constitutive law to attribute to equivalent strut is a fundamental step. Since the

equivalent strut represents an idealisation of a real physical problem (it does not actually

exist), its nonlinear capacity cannot be performed by a direct experimental approach but

derived observing the actual behaviour of an inﬁll–frame system.

Several approaches have been proposed; some of them ﬁrst provide the determina-

tion of a monotonic constitutive law to be used also as backbone curve for cyclic analy-

ses. Among those the ones here reported are considered in the opinion of the authors

the most suitable and ﬂexible for more complex analyses. Panagiotakos and Fardis

(1996), by means of experimental cyclic tests on scale samples of frames with brick

inﬁll panels deﬁned a simpliﬁed tetra-linear relationship (Figure 23). If no residual resis-

tance is assumed, the segments are reduced to 3. The branches describe the initial shear

behaviour of the panel, the equivalent strut formation (after frame- inﬁll detachment),

the softening response after the displacement Sm and a ﬁnal constant residual resistance

(generally introduced to improve numerical stability).

The determination parameters necessary to deﬁne the different branches of the curve

are below described:

20 F. Di Trapani et al.

Figure 23. Force-Displacement relationship for the equivalent strut model proposed in Panagiotakos

and Fardis (1996).

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Initial stiffness K1

Gm t‘

K1 ¼ (22)

h

in which Gm is the tangential elastic modulus of the masonry inﬁll, l, h and t are the

length, the height and the thickness of the panel, respectively;

Yielding force Fy

Fy ¼ ftp t‘ (23)

in which ftp is the shear strength of the panel;

Em tw

K2 ¼ (24)

d

Em being the mean Young modulus of masonry;

Displacement associate to the maximum force Sm

Fm Fy

Sm ¼ Sy þ (25)

K2

0:005K1 K3 0:1K1 (26)

European Journal of Environmental and Civil Engineering 21

Residual force Fr

0 Fr 0:1Fy (27)

Fm Fr

Sr ¼ Sm þ (28)

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K3

This relationship represents a real general and ﬂexible instrument to describe the

nonlinear behaviour of the equivalent strut in order to reproduce one of the frame–inﬁll

systems being this suitable for different ways of calibration. Some authors adopted this

law in their studies proposing different criteria to determine some parameters to have a

better agreement with their experimental results.

The constitutive law proposed by Bertoldi et al. (1993) was obtained by an experi-

mental campaign on 10 different frames having two bays with equal span and a variable

number of storeys (from 2 to 24). Pushover analyses were performed both for bare and

the inﬁlled frames, identifying the equivalent strut by the equation

w K1

¼ þ K2 (29)

d kh

λh < 3.14 3.14< λh < 7.85 λh > 7.85

K1 1.3 0.707 0.47

K1 −0.178 0.01 0.04

Figure 24. Force-Displacement relationship for the equivalent strut model considered in Bertoldi

et al. (1993).

22 F. Di Trapani et al.

where K1 and K2 values are given in Table 1 and the parameter λh is determined by the

expression of Mainstone. The Force–Displacement relationship of each equivalent strut

is reported in Figure 24.

The main parameters to be determined are Km and Fm, (maximum strength and stiff-

ness of the equivalent strut).

The stiffness Km can be calculated as follows:

Em wt

Km ¼ cos2 h (30)

d

The evaluation of the maximum strength Fm is performed considering four possible

collapse mechanisms of the panel representative of the mostly recognisable damage

modalities observing experiments: crushing at the centre of the panel, corners crushing,

units sliding and diagonal shear failure. Each of these mechanisms is associated with a

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speciﬁed ultimate stress σw having a uniform distribution over the cross section and

over the length of the equivalent strut. The possible expressions for σw are below

reported:

1:16rm0 tan h

rw1 ¼ (31)

K1 þ K2 kh

corners crushing

rw2 ¼ (32)

K1 ðkhÞ0:12 þ K2 ðkhÞ0:88

units sliding

rw3 ¼ (33)

K1

þ K2

kh

0:6sm0 þ 0:3r0

rw4 ¼ (34)

K1

þ K2

kh

European Journal of Environmental and Civil Engineering 23

In the above reported equations, rm0 is the normal compressive strength of the masonry

constituting the inﬁll; sm0 is masonry shear strength; u is the sliding resistance of the

bed joints while r0 is the average normal stress acting on the panel. The horizontal

component of the corresponding critical force is associated with the minimum of those

strengths and is evaluable as follows:

Fm ¼ ðrw Þmin tw cos h (35)

This kind of approach is certainly more than others related to the mechanics of the

system considering all main possible failure modalities but a large validation, based on

several inﬁlled frame typologies should be done to assess the actual applicability to

every system.

Other formulations have been proposed to deﬁne the constitutive law of the equiva-

lent strut. The two, here proposed, represent a good reference for applications. In partic-

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ular, the determination of the equivalent strut strength constitutes one of the most

signiﬁcant issues in deﬁning the constitutive law since it does not depend simply on the

strength shear strength pane but more realistically on the inﬁll–frame coupling and also

on the portion of vertical load carried by the inﬁll. For this reason, a further relationship

for the evaluation of the maximum strength Fmax to attribute to the equivalent strut due

to Žarnic and Gostic (1997), is here given in order to provide a wider overview

qﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ

‘tftp

Fmax ¼ 0:818 1 þ CI2 þ 1 (36)

CI

CI being

‘

CI ¼ 1:925 (37)

h

and the other symbols have the same signiﬁcance of the ones used before.

In order to extend the use of macromodels to perform nonlinear time history analyses,

several hysteretic models have been developed. The cyclic behaviour of an inﬁlled

frame is not easy to capture, therefore the models that have been proposed from time to

time had to introduce more complex rules to account for the actual behaviour. Also in

this case, the deﬁnition of the cyclic law for the strut was determined observing the

results of experimental cyclic tests on the overall inﬁll–frame system in order to perform

an indirect determination. The experimental evidence of several tests has shown that the

cyclic behaviour of an inﬁlled frame has these general characteristics:

both strength and stiffness degradations are recognised at each cycle depending

on the previous inelastic excursion;

the cycles show a signiﬁcant dissipation capacity of the inﬁlled frame system with

respect to the bare ones if a brittle failure does not occur;

the cycles are affected by pinching at the in proximity to the axes origins due to

the fact that the cracks occurred in the previous loading phase have to be closed

to regain strength and stiffness at the reloading.

Klingner and Bertero (1978). In this model, the inﬁll wall is replaced by two struts

24 F. Di Trapani et al.

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Figure 25. Hysteretic law for the equivalent strut proposed by Klingner and Bertero (1978).

acting in compression only. The initial stiffness is obtained considering the diagonal d

having a cross section of thickness equal to the actual one and width w calculated

according to Mainstone expression. The degradation of stiffness is then related to geo-

metrical and mechanical parameters of the system and is calibrated experimentally. The

envelope curve provides a softening branch beyond the peak strength.

In this model (Figure 25), it can be observed that: (1) the strut has a limited

strength; (2) the unloading stiffness in compression is equal to the elastic loading one;

(3) each reloading branch starts from axes origin and is linear with a slope that depends

on the previous maximum positive or negative displacement reached. The model has

been calibrated and provides good results, for inﬁlled frames in which the panel is con-

nected to the surrounding frame by means of a distributed steel reinforcement. The

Figure 26. Hysteretic law for the equivalent strut proposed by Doudoumis and Mitsopoulou

(1986).

European Journal of Environmental and Civil Engineering 25

major limitation is due to the fact that the model does not account for the damage

accumulation that produced by the shrinkage of the panel.

Doudoumis and Mitsopoulou (1986), to account for this fact, proposed a cyclic law

in which the strut is inactive in tension and also in compression until reaching a certain

level of deformation (Figure 26). However, the stiffness of the strut is deﬁned through

an envelope curve and has constant loading-unloading slope that is not updated account-

ing for the history of deformation of the strut.

Panagiotakos and Fardis (1996), proposed a lateral force–lateral displacement law

for the strut showing a good agreement with the experimental results obtained on

inﬁlled frames without connectors between frame and inﬁll. In this model (Figure 27),

the initial stiffness depends on the masonry panel (geometry and shear modulus equal to

those of the material that constitutes the inﬁlls).

Madan et al. (1997) developed a hysteretic model with parameters calibrated to sim-

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ulate the stiffness and strength degradation, as well as pinching effect. In the proposed

procedure, the masonry panel is replaced by struts having a strength envelope derived

by the procedure in Saneinejad and Hobbs (1995). The model is integrated by a hyster-

etic Bouc-Wen model. The calibration of the hysteresis parameters is performed on the

basis of experimental results. The decomposition of the model is illustrated in Figure 28.

The resulting model (Figure 28(d)) is composed by the sum of a Bouc-Wen hysteresis

model, a classic strength and stiffness degradation model and a slip lock model to

include the pinching effect.

One of the most complete cyclic models is due to Crisafulli (1997), updated in a

subsequent work by Crisafulli and Carr (2007).

The model is able to simulate the contribution of the inﬁll walls with different levels

of accuracy, as a function of the input data available. The local effects due to the inter-

action between the panel and the frame may also be taken into account in a simpliﬁed

way by adopting the approach of two diagonal equivalent struts for each direction

(Figure 29(b)), which can be considered as an intermediate solution between a model

with three struts, more accurate but also more complex (Figure 29(c)), and the model

with a single strut (Figure 29(a)), more simple but also less accurate.

Figure 27. Hysteretic law for the equivalent strut proposed by Panagiotakos and Fardis (1996).

26 F. Di Trapani et al.

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Figure 28. Hysteretic law for the equivalent strut proposed by Madan et al. (1997).

Figure 29. Possible multiple strut conﬁgurations considered in Crisafulli (1997): (a) single strut;

(b) double strut; (c) triple strut.

Figure 30. Hysteretic features considered in Crisafulli (1997): (a) normal compressive hysteric

law for masonry; (b) shear sprig; (c) shear spring hysteretic law.

different hysteresis rules. The most signiﬁcant characteristic of the model is the intro-

duction of a special shear spring (Figure 30(b)) to account for frictional effects between

mortar bed joints. It is assumed that the shear behaviour of mortar is linear elastic

European Journal of Environmental and Civil Engineering 27

before reaching the maximum shear strength in both loading and unloading phases

(Figure 30(c)). In the elastic branch, the shear stress τ is therefore obtained by the prod-

uct of the sliding deformation γ multiplied by the shear modulus of masonry Gm. The

shear strength depends on the limit bond value τ0, the friction coefﬁcient μ and the com-

pression stress acting perpendicularly to the mortar joints. The values of μ and τ0 have

to be calibrated in order to characterise properly the actual capacity of masonry.

The model of Crisafulli is probably the most complete inﬁll–frame macromodel ever

developed, being able to account directly for different failure mechanisms, frictional

effects and local inﬁll–frame interaction. However, its use requires the calibration of a

wide quantity of parameters that are really difﬁcult to determine in most of the cases.

Basing on original idea developed by Klingner and Bertero, but introducing several

modiﬁcations in order to improve the accuracy of loading and unloading branches with

respect to the experimental evidence, Cavaleri et al. (2005) provided a highly detailed

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parametric cyclic model. In their formulation, the cycles are guided by a strength enve-

lope that corresponds to the ideal monotonic behaviour of the inﬁlled frame. The main

feature of this model which makes it a really ﬂexible instrument regards the possibility

to deﬁne a double slope for the ﬁrst loading branch and for all the unloading branches

(Figure 31). Moreover, the model accounts for the pinching effect during the reloading

caused by the shrinkage of the panel with a zero force branch before regaining strength

and stiffness. The cycle shapes are updated at each cycle since the parameters have

memory of the previous displacement history. The model requires the calibration of 7

Figure 31. Hysteretic model for the equivalent strut in Cavaleri et al. (2005).

28 F. Di Trapani et al.

parameters to be used for the prediction of cyclic behaviour of the inﬁlled frame. It

can be otherwise used for pushover analyses. In this case, the deﬁnition of only 3

parameters is needed.

Having as reference the Figure 31, the hysteretic law is divided into 8 branches. The

ﬁrst three branches (OA), (AB) and (BC) represent the result monotonic loading. The

path OA identiﬁes the linear elastic behaviour, while (OB) is the path experienced after

the ﬁrst cracking. The path (BC) is a softening branch describing the velocity at which

the post-peak strength decays.

A double unloading slope is described by the braches (DF) and (FG), after a

horizontal no tensile path (MO) is experienced. The reloading occurs in two phases. In

the ﬁrst phase (OM), due to the fact that the inﬁll has shortened, no load can be carried

until a certain displacement. Beyond this point, the load carrying capacity is regained

through the path OB up to the reuniﬁcation with the monotonic load pattern.

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The predictive capacity of the model has been proved by the authors by means of a

comparison with experimental quasi-static cyclic tests carried out on inﬁlled frames

inﬁlled with different typologies of masonry and a ﬁrst calibration of the parameters

involved have been also provided. Despite the ﬂexibility of the model, that is suitable

to be used in every general case, it depends on several parameters needing a wide

experimental calibration. A simpliﬁed version of the above-described model has been

developed by Cavaleri and Di Trapani (2014a). The latter is based on the calibration of

the ﬁrst 3 parameters α, β and ξ (which are not difﬁcult to predict), to deﬁne the mono-

tonic behaviour and uses the simple pivot-model (Dowell, Seible, & Wilson, 1998) rules

for the determination of the hysteretic law.

The presence of door or window openings within masonry inﬁll walls produces a string

inﬂuence on lateral strength and stiffness with respect to the case of solid inﬁlls. From a

general point of view the overall damage mechanism, activated under lateral loads, un-

dergos a modiﬁcation as function of the amplitude of the opening and its position within

the inﬁll panel. A conspicuous number of studies concerning the effect of opening on

inﬁlled frame systems is available in the literature, most of them are based on experi-

mental investigation or reﬁned FE analyses. Among the earliest studies Papia (1988), by

means of coupled FEM-BEM approach evaluated the loss of stiffness due to the pres-

ence of centred homothetic openings with respect to the panel contour. He found that

that for a wide range of values, the stiffness have a linear decay when increasing the

amplitude of the opening. Basing on this approximately linear relationship, other authors

developed the idea to deﬁne a reduction factor for the equivalent strut width to account

the presence of the openings, maintaining the same modelling concept. Some important

studies in this direction are due to Asteris (2003), who determined, by means of a

reﬁned FE discretisation, a stiffness reduction factor to be used in combination with the

expression provided by Mainstone for the identiﬁcation of the equivalent strut width. A

similar approach was followed by Papia et al. (2003). The authors proposed the

following analytical expression for the reduction factor r as result of a deep numerical

investigation (Figure 32)

rðnÞ ¼ 1 2:17n4 þ 6:35n3 5:176n2 (38)

European Journal of Environmental and Civil Engineering 29

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Figure 32. Determination of reduction facto r due to the presence of openings (Papia et al.,

2003): (a) FE Micromodel; (b) r(ξ) relationship.

ratio between the length (or height) of the opening with respect to the length (or height)

of the panel.

An alternative expression for the reduction factor was proposed by Mondal and Jain

(2008). This time the extension of the opening with respect to the panel was considered in

terms of area ratio. The expression provided for the reduction factor ρw is the following

qw ¼ 1 2:6ac0 (39)

αc0 being the ratio between the area of the opening and the area of the inﬁll. Finally,

the authors conclude their study stating that if the area of the opening is lower than 5%

of the area of the inﬁll, its presence can be neglected, while if the area of opening is

greater than 40%, the presence of the inﬁll can be neglected. An alternative relationship

to be used for steel inﬁlled frames has been also formulated by Tasnimi and

Mohebkhahb (2011).

A wide experimental investigation on the topic has been carried out by Kakaletsis

and Karayannis (2009), who analysed the cyclic behaviour of several RC inﬁlled frames

with openings having different sizes and positions (Figure 33). By means of the experi-

mental results obtained, the authors proposed a parametric model for the monotonic

curve to be used for the attribution of the equivalent strut nonlinear law. In recent study

provided by Decanini, Liberatore, and Mollaioli (2014), the authors considered a large

number (about 150) of literature experimental and numerical tests to derive some

numerical expressions for a reduction factor to be applied for the prediction of both

Figure 33. Experimental investigation on RC inﬁlled frames with openings of different size and

position (Kakaletsis & Karayannis, 2009): (a) cyclic response; (b) cracking pattern.

30 F. Di Trapani et al.

surrounded by a steel reinforcement.

Several other studies have been carried out on the topic. The majority of the authors

agree with the assumption that the seismic behaviour of the inﬁll is really sensitive to

the opening dimensions and shape. In particular, if the openings are not centred, besides

the strength and stiffness also the collapse mechanisms change. On the other hand,

although many authors suggest the possibility of using a reduction factor for the deter-

mination of the effective equivalent strut width in order to consider the presence of the

openings, others believe that this is not strictly correct since the damage mechanisms

activated are substantially different.

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Many studies regarding the identiﬁcation of the equivalent strut are limited to the theo-

retical application to single storey – single bay frame. However, during an earthquake,

the interaction between inﬁlls and frames involves, however, the building in a more gen-

eral complex of events that depend on the distribution of the inﬁlls in plan and eleva-

tion. This means that despite the accuracy used for the identiﬁcation of the equivalent

strut, the overall structural response is mainly dominated by the mechanism eventually

activated. In the early past, due to the rapid diffusion of nonlinear analysis techniques,

the author had the opportunity to implement their analytical approaches in larger struc-

tural models. The results of some signiﬁcant studies in this direction are here illustrated.

Dolšek and Fajfar (2008), investigated on the effect of masonry inﬁlls on the seismic

response of a four-storey-reinforced concrete frame by pushover analysis (Figure 34).

They compared the responses of bare frames and inﬁlled frame, the latter in the double

hypothesis of solid inﬁlls and inﬁlls with openings. The inﬁlls are modelled as equiva-

lent strut with a speciﬁc force displacement law. In the paper, it is clear that the damage

distribution intended localisation of the storey mechanism is quite different form a mod-

elling hypothesis to another. In particular, the presence of the inﬁlls tends to move the

damage to the lower stories. A second conclusion that can be drawn is that the presence

Figure 34. Pushover analysis comparison of different inﬁlled frame models (Dolšek & Fajfar,

2008): (a) bare frame; (b) inﬁlled frame with openings; (c) fully inﬁlled frame.

European Journal of Environmental and Civil Engineering 31

After, the strength and stiffness contribution is rapidly lost. However, this conclusion

cannot be considered true in general but it depends on shear overstrength and ductility

capacity of the frame, as it can be observed in a subsequent study by Uva, Porco, and

Fiore (2012). Here, the authors investigate on the pushover response of the same struc-

tural model varying the strength of the inﬁlls. The results show that in the case of

strong inﬁlls, in spite of a signiﬁcant increase of the strength the ultimate displacement

is signiﬁcantly reduced. Similar conclusions are remarked also in a further paper by

Fiore, Porco, Raffaele, and Uva (2012) where the collapse modalities of two case stud-

ies, representative of low and mid-rise buildings, are investigated. In particular, it is

pointed out that the analysis of inﬁlled frames structures carried out considering simpli-

ﬁed 2D frames may neglect to consider the overall collapse mechanisms leading to

incorrect conclusions. A really comprehensive analysis of the uncertainties arising in the

Downloaded by [George Mason University] at 02:40 09 January 2015

assessment of parameters governing the inﬁlled frames structures has been carried out

by Celarec, Ricci, and Dolšek (2012). Using as reference structural model of inﬁlled

frame (Figure 35), several random variables are consider in the study, in particular the

strength of the inﬁll and the elastic longitudinal and shear moduli. The results are pre-

sented in terms of tornado diagrams conﬁrming that the uncertainty on the characteris-

tics of the masonry inﬁlls, in particular the inﬁll strength, has the greatest impact on the

seismic response parameters. Considering the studies here cited and the conclusion of

others available in the literature, one can conclude that when inﬁlls are modelled by

means of equivalent struts within structural models, the collapse modality of the entire

structure radically changes with different possibilities that depend of the strength and

stiffness ratio between inﬁll and frame, and the position of the inﬁlls. These may

include soft storey mechanisms, shear failure or collapse of columns due to the strong

axial load variation on them caused by the bracing action. For this reason, one can

conclude that modelling and analysis phases have to be handled carefully by designers.

interaction effects and indirect estimation

In this section, two recent techniques of macromodelling are presented. They were

selected for the innovations proposed in their approach to the modelling questions. The

ﬁrst regards the inﬁll–frame interaction in nodal regions, which, as previously

mentioned, constitutes a quite relevant issue for modelling. The local shear demand, on

Figure 35. Response of an inﬁlled frame due to uncertain parameters (Celarec et al., 2012): (a)

structural model; (b) pushover curves.

32 F. Di Trapani et al.

RC elements ends may exceed their capacity causing an unexpected brittle collapse of

the system. Multiple equivalent strut models can be used to predict the shear demand

although they require a not simple identiﬁcation process. A recent strategy to circum-

vent the problem has been proposed by Cavaleri and Di Trapani (2014b). Setting a

multi-stage linear equivalence between single strut model and a special FE micromodel,

the authors found a way to correlate at each stage the axial load on the equivalent strut

and the shear demand on beam and column ends. The correlation is possible by means

of the parameter ψ, identifying the inﬁlled frames properties, deﬁned as

w ¼ k n fvom (40)

where k has been deﬁned in Equation (14), n is the ratio between ﬂexural strength of

beams and columns, and fv0m the shear strength of the panel. Once identiﬁed, the parameter

ψ allows us to determine the shear distribution coefﬁcients (α) of the frame, representing

Downloaded by [George Mason University] at 02:40 09 January 2015

the ratio between the axial load on the strut and the actual shear on the critical sections

(Figure 36). The analytical ψ-α laws have been derived by means of a deep numerical

investigations. The technique is particularly suitable when the veriﬁcation of the shear

Figure 36. Shear distribution coefﬁcients versus ψ factor at l/h = 1 and l/h = 2. Numerical

analysis results and interpolating functions (Cavaleri & Di Trapani, 2014b).

Figure 37. Indirect estimation of the equivalent strut by Shing and Stavridis (2014): (a) simpli-

ﬁed Force-Displacement law for and inﬁlled frame; (b) comparison of the simpliﬁed curve with

an experimental test.

European Journal of Environmental and Civil Engineering 33

Figure 38. Indirect estimation of the equivalent strut by Shing and Stavridis (2014): (a) ﬁbre

model pushover and simpliﬁed curve prediction; (b) comparison of the ﬁbre model response with

an experimental shake table test.

Downloaded by [George Mason University] at 02:40 09 January 2015

capacity of RC members of complex models is needed, giving the possibility to use the

well-known single equivalent strut indirectly determine the actual shear distribution.

As second technique has been presented in a recent paper, Shing and Stavridis

(2014), who proposed an indirect determination of the mechanical properties to assign

to the equivalents strut. They started from the estimation of a ASCE 41-Type pushover

curve for the entire inﬁlled frame (Figure 37(a)) to be predicted by means of simple

rules. The rules for the determination of the simpliﬁed law (Figure 34(b)) have been

experimentally derived by the authors. Subsequently, working with a ﬁbre model devel-

oped in Opensees program, a concrete uniaxial law was attributed to the equivalent

strut. The latter was calibrated by a comparison with the pushover curve obtained from

the ﬁbre strut model with the simpliﬁed curve predicted for the inﬁlled frame

(Figure 38(a)). This technique allows both to assess monotonic and cyclic behaviour of

the strut by simply operating on the stress–strain law for the strut.

The reliability of the method has been validated comparing the results of the strut

ﬁbre model with experimental shake table tests on full scale buildings (Figure 38(b)).

5. Conclusions

The inﬁll–frame interaction has attracted the interest of researchers for the last 50 years

for its recognised relevance in structural response of RC-framed buildings. A large

quantity of studies and modelling approaches has been proposed by the scientiﬁc

community. The paper provided a critical discussion on the ways to model inﬁll–frame

interaction giving ﬁrstly a general overview of the main techniques available in

literature. The latter substantially refers to two main methods, micromodelling and mac-

romodelling approach. Micromodelling approach is the closest to the actual physic of

the problem and allows a reﬁned determination of structural stress state on the inﬁll and

on RC members. It should be the preferable way to represent this interaction problem

but however a large computational effort is required for its application. Moreover, the

mechanical parameters needed to identify the FE micromodel are not always determin-

able in an easy way especially for nonlinear analyses. For this reason, this kind of

approach is nowadays not followed in practice but is fundamental as numerical support

to derive simpliﬁed models.

On the other hand in macromodelling approach, the substitution of a physical element

(namely a masonry inﬁll) with a phenomenological element (namely a strut) constitutes a

more simple way to identify the inﬁll–frame system requiring less parameters and a

34 F. Di Trapani et al.

signiﬁcant lower computational effort. Despite these advantages, this approach lacks in

accuracy to reproduce the actual stress state on the frame elements especially those in con-

tact with the inﬁlls under lateral loads. This is due to the concentric disposition of the strut.

To circumvent this difﬁculty, multiple strut macromodels have been developed. They per-

mit the prediction of shear action on beam and columns with a moderate computational

effort but especially when nonlinear static or dynamic analyses are required the correct

calibration of each single strut becomes a relevant question.

For this reason, the ﬁnal section of the paper has been dedicated to the single strut

macromodelling techniques illustrating a state of the art of the identiﬁcation issues faced

by different authors. The most relevant issues have been treated summarising that:

mechanical) between the inﬁll and the frame;

Downloaded by [George Mason University] at 02:40 09 January 2015

Vertical loads transferred to the inﬁlls inﬂuence both stiffness and strength;

The strength to assign to the strut depends on the panel shear strength but how-

ever is conditioned by the possible collapse mechanisms that can occur;

A reliable representation of cyclic behaviour has to consider strength and stiffness

degradation and pinching. Moreover, a no-stress path at the load reversals should

be included to account for the panel’s shrinkage.

The presence of the openings has to be carefully included in models being the

overall strength and stiffness of the system really sensitive to their amplitude and

position.

Local interaction effects may modify the collapse mechanisms if shear failure

occurs. For this reason, the shear demand has to be predicted and compared with

the capacity of the RC surrounding elements.

Indirect estimation of the equivalent strut features is possible and represents a

strong alternative for the future developments.

currently the most sustainable way (from a computational point of view) to represent

inﬁlled frame interaction, allowing a sufﬁcient predictive accuracy of the response in

presence of seismic events. The modelling aspects discussed in the paper signiﬁcantly

inﬂuence the results when this technique is used; for this reason, the identiﬁcation of

the equivalent strut properties should be treated with the due caution.

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