Analytical and Experimental Investigation of Self- Centering Steel Plate Shear Walls

Published February 24, 2019

Graduate Students: Daniel M. Dowden

Principal Investigator: Michel Bruneau

Project Completion Date: 10-06-2014

As part of an analytical and experimental study on a proposed self-centering steel plate shear wall (SC-SPSW) system, the behavior of SC-SPSWs was developed investigated using one-third scaled single-bay three-story frames subjected to quasi-static cyclic and dynamic shake-table testing.


self-centering steel plate shear walls.

Conventional lateral force resisting systems (LFRS) that comply with current building codes typically are designed for collapse prevention for a design level earthquake.  Accordingly, significant structural damage is expected, leading to large residual drifts where yielded elements are difficult to repair or replace.  Consequently, after a design level earthquake, demolition of the building may be required to due severe structural damage.  An innovative self-centering steel plate shear wall (SC-SPSW) was proposed.  The objective was to offer enhanced structural performance beyond conventional lateral systems by providing frame recentering and also to minimize structural damage of gravity frame components of the LFRS.  The SC-SPSW combines the advantages of high initial stiffness and substantial energy dissipation provided by SPSW infill web plates, provides frame self-centering capability through the use of post-tensioned (PT) rocking frame joint connections, and concentrates hysteretic energy dissipation to replaceable infill web plates.  In doing so, the SC-SPSW is intended to recover to its near pre-earthquake condition, after a moderate to significant earthquake, decreasing life-cycle costs.

To investigate and validate the behavior of the SC-SPSW system, an experimental program of one-third scaled single-bay three-story frames was developed and conducted, consisting of quasi-static cyclic and dynamic shake-table testing.  SC-SPSWs detailed with three different beam-to-column rocking joints were investigated.  The experimental results show that SC-SPSWs systems can be a viable LFRS appropriate for buildings in regions of high seismicity.  Furthermore, to assist in the design of SC-SPSWs, fundamental knowledge on the kinematics of SC-SPSWs through detailed free body diagrams were established, from which validated closed-form equations describing beam strength demands, tensile strain demands on the infill web plate, and unrestrained PT boundary frame expansion (aka beam-growth) of frames with PT rocking connections were provided in a form suitable for use as design tools.



This project is supported by the George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation program of the National Science Foundation under award number CMMI-0830294. Steel donations were provided by the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC).