Date of Award

December 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Civil and Environmental Engineering


Eric M. Lui

Second Advisor

Junho J. Chun


cyclic analysis, Energy dissipation, finite element analysis, friction damper, steel plate shear wall

Subject Categories



Conventional steel plate shear walls (SPSWs) are often designed to behave elastically under normal lateral load condition. However, they are expected to yield and absorb energy through inelastic hysteresis under extreme load condition. Depending on the width-to-thickness ratio and boundary conditions of these walls, SPSWs may also experience inelastic out-of-plane buckling. Therefore, maintaining structural integrity and preventing building collapse are dependent upon their post-buckling behavior. In this study, a new type of SPSW referred to as the Segmented Energy Absorbing Steel Plate Shear Wall (SEA-SPSW) is proposed and its behavior is investigated.The proposed steel plate shear wall is segmented into two trapezoidal shapes. These trapezoidal segments, placed together in the form of an hourglass with a predetermined gap along the common edge, are connected by reinforcing steel strips on both sides using high strength bolts with oversized or slotted bolt holes. The steel plates and reinforcing strips not only provide the necessary strength and stiffness to the structure under normal load condition, together they will also act as friction damper to absorb and dissipate energy under extreme load condition. If the gap dimension, plate size, plate thickness and the amount of clamping force are properly set, no yielding or buckling of the plate segments will occur. The geometric parameters for the plate segments are optimized using simple mechanistic models and henceforth, the mechanistic models are validated by finite element analysis. A comparative study is then carried out to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed SEA-SPSW system against a conventional steel plate shear wall.


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