Fragility Functions For Tessellated Structural-Architectural Shear Walls

Jonathan Mann

The generic form of a fragility function for a given intensity measure, IM.

The generic form of a fragility function for a given intensity measure (IM).

Undergraduate Student Project


Recent natural disasters and the swiftly changing climate are reminders that the next generation of buildings need to minimize economic and social consequences of extreme loading, with minimum environmental impact.

My name is Jonathan Mann. I'm a senior civil engineering major at the University at Buffalo. With the support of a Research Experience for Undergraduates supplement grant I researched the Civil, Structural, and Environmental Engineering department under Dr. Negar Elhami Khorasani and Dr. Pinar Okumus as my mentors. I worked with two graduate students, and I was the only undergraduate working on this project last summer. My job this past summer was to run simulations on a reinforced concrete wall with different input parameters (random variables) to see the sensitivity of each random variable.

The fragility functions developed will eventually be used as part of the framework to communicate the engineering results with the architects for decision making in the architectural and structural system selection. In particular, as a civil engineering major, I was interested in exploring the feasibility of these shear walls, and how soon they can be implemented.


This report characterized the performance of a TeSA archetype wall subject to in-plane monotonic lateral loads using fragility functions by incorporating uncertainties in the analysis. Random variables included were the compressive strength of concrete, f'c, yield strength of reinforcing steel, fy, applied vertical load on the TeSA wall, P, and the model error. Latin Hypercube Sampling was used to generate random realization of variables. A total of 27 cases were simulated using finite element analysis, and the maximum and minimum principal strains across elements of all tiles in the wall were recorded. It was shown that the TeSA wall lateral strength and stiffness were sensitive to the applied vertical load, and the yield strength of reinforcing steel (especially at larger values), while less sensitivity was observed to the compressive strength of concrete.

The derived fragility functions considered cracking and crushing of core concrete as damage criteria. The defined damage states (slight, moderate, and extensive) related to the number of cracked and crushed tiles in the TeSA wall. An important point to note is that the selected damage state criteria is an iterative and subjective process, and can be modified based on different performance objectives.

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