Nonlinear finite element analysis of glass panels

Andrew Kwok Wai So, Siu Lai Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Glass panels which are widely used in curtain wall systems, behave nonlinearly under high wind load when their deflections exceed about 3/4 of their thickness. The American and the Canadian design codes for curtain wall and window systems have made it mandatory to include the effect of large deflection in the design and analysis of glass panels. This paper presents a versatile finite shell element method for nonlinear analysis of glass panels subjected to high wind loads. The accuracy of the proposed method is demonstrated via comparison with the results of previous studies and experiments. The advantage of the present method is its versatility in handling complex loading and boundary conditions whilst its longer computational time has been effectively offset by the adoption of the efficient incremental-iterative minimum residual displacement method of analysis and the availability of fast personal computers. Using the examples studied in this paper, it was found that the nonlinearity in glass may violate the linear assumption in the practical loading range, resulting in unexpected glass behaviour if the linear theory is used. More interestingly, the use of higher strength glass, the tempered or the heat-strengthened glass, will not increase the load resistance of the panel when it is under in-plane loads causing instability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)645-652
Number of pages8
JournalEngineering Structures
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1996


  • Finite element analysis
  • Glass panels
  • Wind loads

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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