In this study, parameters related to material properties, geometry, and external stimuli were examined individually to determine their influence on multi-story, partially grouted, perforated (openings), masonry shear walls using a finite element software FormWorks. The parameters studied were: the strength of grouted masonry prisms f'm,grouted; the strength of un-grouted (hollow) masonry prisms f'm,ungrouted; the ratio of mortar shear strength to masonry compressive strength; vertical and horizontal reinforcement ratios in terms of size and spacing of reinforcement; axial load; aspect ratio; and openings that were vertically and horizontally altered. To perform this study, finite element models were validated against the response of three experimental walls of two unique types that were built ½ scale and tested in a lab. The validated finite element models were designated as "base models" which accurately predicted the maximum strength of each wall within a tolerance of 5.9%, 3.3%, and 1.8%. Following validation, each parameter in question was varied individually to identify and quantify the sensitivity of the parameter and to observe the changes in shear capacity and deflection for this unique configuration of masonry shear walls. To capture the impact of these parameters, 38 different shear wall models were built and tested. The results were compared against the Masonry Standards Joint Committee (MSJC) (2013) code predictions using the applicable shear strength equations. Results of this study are specific to cantilever type masonry shear walls with large aspect ratios and openings in every story. Shear wall capacity was considered sensitive to the following parameters: compressive strength of grouted masonry; compressive strength of un-grouted masonry; joint strength ratio; vertical reinforcement ratio; axial stress; aspect ratio; and opening width. Shear wall capacity was considered not sensitive to the following parameters: horizontal reinforcement ratio; vertical reinforcement spacing; and horizontal reinforcement spacing. The sensitivity of shear wall capacity to opening height was determined inconclusive. The sensitivities were determined by fitting trend lines to the results of shear capacity vs. each parameter individually. Each MSJC (2013) code prediction un-conservatively over-predicted the shear wall capacity except one wall configuration that had a joint strength ratio of 0.045.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Civil and Environmental Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





multi-story, partially grouted, openings, masonry, shear wall, parameters, finite element analysis