In structural engineering, a shear wall is a wall composed of braced panels (also known as shear panels) to counter the effects of lateral load acting on a structure. Wind and seismic loads are the most common loads braced wall lines are designed to counteract. Under several building codes, including the International Building Code (where it is called a braced wall line) and Uniform Building Code, all exterior wall lines in wood or steel frame construction must be braced. Depending on the size of the building some interior walls must be braced as well.
A more traditional method is to use let-in diagonal wood bracing throughout the wall line, and a newer alternative is let-in metal T-bracing but these methods may not be viable for buildings with many door and window openings and may not meet seismic or high wind zone codes.
Such walls can be either load bearing or non-load bearing.
Shear walls are a type of structural system that provides lateral resistance to a building or structure. They resist in-plane loads that are applied along its height. The applied load is generally transferred to the wall by a diaphragm or collector or drag member. They are built in wood, concrete, and CMU (masonry).
Plywood is the conventional material used in the construction of shear walls, but with advances in technology and modern building methods, there are other prefabricated options which have made it possible to inject shear assemblies into narrow walls that fall at either side of an opening in a shear wall. Sheet steel and steel-backed shear panels in the place of structural plywood in shear walls has proved to be far stronger in seismic resistance.
Nonplanar Shear Walls: Due to functional requirements, the designer may choose non planar sections like C,L as opposed to the planar sections like rectangular/bar bell sections. Nonplanar sections require 3D analysis and are a research area.
Methods of Analysis:
- Finite Element Method
- Stringer Panel Model
- Reitherman, Robert (2012). Earthquakes and Engineers: An International History. Reston, VA: ASCE Press. ISBN 9780784410714.
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