Out-of-Plane Strengthening of Unreinforced Masonry Walls with Openings


Collapse of unreinforced masonry (URM) walls is the cause of many casualties during extreme loading events. The objective of this current research was to investigate effective and practical approaches for strengthening URM block walls with openings to resist extreme out-of-plane loads. Five full-scale masonry block walls were constructed. The walls had different opening configurations such as a single center window, one window off center, two windows, a wide window and a door. The walls were tested when subjected to uniformly distributed lateral load up to failure. The walls were then strengthened using carbon fiber-reinforced polymer laminate strips and then retested. The walls were set up in a vertical test frame and were subjected to cyclic out-of-plane distributed pressure using an airbag. Failure of the unstrengthened URM block wall was along the mortar joints. In the strengthened walls, failure occurred in the mortar joints as well as in concrete blocks near the carbon strips. The lateral load carrying capacity of the strengthened walls was found to be significantly higher than that of the unstrengthened walls and had much more ductile performance.