Out-of-plane behavior of decoupled masonry infills under seismic loading
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Masonry is used in many buildings not only for load-bearing walls, but also for non-load-bearing enclosure elements in the form of infill walls. Many studies confirmed that infill walls interact with the surrounding reinforced concrete frame, thus changing dynamic characteristics of the structure. Consequently, masonry infills cannot be neglected in the design process. However, although the relevant standards contain requirements for infill walls, they do not describe how these requirements are to be met concretely. This leads in practice to the fact that the infill walls are neither dimensioned nor constructed correctly. The evidence of this fact is confirmed by the recent earthquakes, which have led to enormous damages, sometimes followed by the total collapse of buildings and loss of human lives. Recently, the increasing effort has been dedicated to the approach of decoupling of masonry infills from the frame elements by introducing the gap in between. This helps in removing the int...eraction between infills and frame, but raises the question of out-of-plane stability of the panel. This paper presents the results of the experimental campaign showing the out-of-plane behavior of masonry infills decoupled with the system called INODIS (Innovative decoupled infill system), developed within the European project INSYSME (Innovative Systems for Earthquake Resistant Masonry Enclosures in Reinforced Concrete Buildings). Full scale specimens were subjected to the different loading conditions and combinations of in-plane and out-of-plane loading. Out-of-plane capacity of the masonry infills with the INODIS system is compared with traditionally constructed infills, showing that INODIS system provides reliable out-of-plane connection under various loading conditions. In contrast, traditional infills performed very poor in the case of combined and simultaneously applied in-plane and out-of-plane loading, experiencing brittle behavior under small in-plane drifts followed by high out-of-plane displacements. Decoupled infills with the INODIS system have remained stable under out-of-plane loads, even after reaching high in-plane drifts and being damaged.