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Discrete element modelling of masonry infilled steel frames with multiple window openings subjected to lateral load variations

Sarhosis, V., Tsavdaridis, K. D. ORCID: 0000-0001-8349-3979 & Giannopoulos, I. (2014). Discrete element modelling of masonry infilled steel frames with multiple window openings subjected to lateral load variations. Open Construction and Building Technology Journal, 8(1), pp. 93-103. doi: 10.2174/1874836801408010093


Steel framed structures are routinely infilled with masonry or concrete walls. The infill offers in-plane shear resistance that adds to the one from the steel frame. However, the stiffness effect on the entire frame's response is usually neglected. In recent years, researchers have recognised the lack of in-depth understanding on infilled steel frames; hence specialised computational tools have been developed to provide an easy way of assessing these interactive structural systems and aid practising engineers in evaluating the overall behaviour.

A computational model to study the behaviour of masonry infilled steel frames for the non-standard case of variable potential positions of openings and their interaction, when subjected to in-plane monotonic loading, is herein developed. Using the Discrete Element Method (DEM) and the software UDEC, the masonry wall is modelled as an assemblage of distinct deformable blocks while the mortar joints as zero thickness interfaces. The numerical model validated against full scale experimental tests found in the literature and a good agreement obtained. In addition, a series of parametric studies were performed to draw the significance of the size and location of the openings on the lateral load capacity, as well as the stiffness and failure mechanisms of the infilled steel frames. From the results analyses, it was found that the inclusion of multiple openings significantly reduces the strength and stiffness of the system. In particular, placing an opening close to the point of application of the lateral load will result to further reduction of masonry infill's stiffness.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Publisher Keywords: Computational analysis, crack patterns, DEM, infill, masonry walls, openings, steel frame, stress tensors
Subjects: T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
T Technology > TH Building construction
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Engineering > Civil Engineering
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution International Public License 4.0.

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