Nonlinear analysis of pre-tensioned glass wall facade by stability function with initial imperfection

Siu Lai Chan, Yaopeng Liu, Andy Lee

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Pre-tensioned high strength trusses using alloy steel bar are widely used as glass wall supporting systems because of the high degree of transparency. The breakage of glass panes in this type of system occurs occasionally, likely to be due to error in design and analysis in addition to other factors like glass impurity and stress concentration around opening in a spider system. Most design does not consider the flexibility of supports from finite stiffness of supporting steel or reinforced concrete beams. The resistance of lateral wind pressure of the system makes use of high tension force coupled with the large deflection effect, both of which are affected by many parameters not generally considered in conventional structures. In the design, one must therefore give a careful consideration on various effects, such as support settlement due to live loads and material creep, temperature change, pre-tension force, and wind pressure. It is not uncommon to see many similar glass wall systems fail in the wind load test chambers under a design wind speed. This paper presents a rigorous analysis and design of this type of structural systems used in a project in Hong Kong, China. The stability function with initial curvature is used in place of the cubic function, which is only accurate for linear analysis. The considerations and analysis techniques are believed to be of value to engineers involved in the design of the structural systems behaving nonlinearly.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)376-382
Number of pages7
JournalFrontiers of Architecture and Civil Engineering in China
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 13 Aug 2010


  • glass wall
  • nonlinear analysis
  • pre-tensioning
  • second-order analysis
  • tension system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture


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