Seismic collapse risk of RC frames with irregular distributed masonry infills

Yan Wen Li, Michael C.H. Yam, Ke Cao

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Masonry infills are normally considered as non-structural elements in design practice, therefore, the interaction between the bounding frame and the strength contribution of masonry infills is commonly ignored in the seismic analysis work of the RC frames. However, a number of typical RC frames with irregular distributed masonry infills have suffered from undesirable weak-story failure in major earthquakes, which indicates that ignoring the influence of masonry infills may cause great seismic collapse risk of RC frames. This paper presented the investigation on the risk of seismic collapse of RC frames with irregularly distributed masonry infills through a large number of nonlinear time history analyses (NTHAs). Based on the results of NTHAs, seismic fragility curves were developed for RC frames with various distribution patterns of masonry infills. It was found that the existence of masonry infills generally reduces the collapse risk of the RC frames under both frequent happened and very strong earthquakes, however, the severe irregular distribution of masonry infills, such as open ground story scenario, results in great risk of forming a weak story failure. The strong-column weak-beam (SCWB) ratio has been widely adopted in major seismic design codes to control the potential of weak story failures, where a SCWB ratio value about 1.2 is generally accepted as the lower limit. In this study, the effect of SCWB ratio on inter-story drift distribution was also parametrically investigated. It showed that improving the SCWB ratio of the RC frames with irregularly distributed masonry infills can reduce inter-story drift concentration index under earthquakes, therefore, prevent weak story failures. To achieve the same drift concentration index limit of the bare RC frame with SCWB ratio of about 1.2, which is specified in ACI318-14, the SCWB ratio of masonry-infilled RC frames should be no less than 1.5. For the open ground story scenario, this value can be as high as 1.8.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-433
Number of pages13
JournalStructural Engineering and Mechanics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2020


  • Nonlinear time history analysis
  • Seismic collapse
  • Seismic fragility curves
  • Strong-column weak-beam ratio
  • Weak story failure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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