Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering


Civil and Environmental Engineering


Bing Qu


Steel plate shear walls (SPSWs) are a lateral force resisting system consisting of thin infill steel plates surrounded by boundary frame members. The infill steel plates are allowed to buckle in shear and subsequently form diagonal tension field actions during earthquake events. Hysteretic energy dissipation of this system is primarily achieved through yielding of the infill plates. Conceptually, in a SPSW system with ideally rigid columns pinned to ground, the infill plates at different stories will yield simultaneously as a result of the lateral loads. However, when the columns become flexible, infill plate yielding may initially occur at one story and progressively spread into the other stories with increasing roof displacement.

This research investigates the effect of column stiffness on infill plate yielding sequence and distribution along the height of steel plate shear walls subjected to earthquake forces. Analytical models are derived and validated for two-story SPSWs. Based on the derived model, probabilistic simulations are conducted to calculate the probability of achieving infill plate yielding in both stories before occurrence of a premature failure caused by excessive inter story drift at the initially yielded story. A total of three simulation methods including the Monte-Carlo method, the Latin Hypercube sampling method, and the Rosenblueth’s 2K+1 point estimate method were considered to account for the uncertain infill plate thickness and lateral force distributions in the system.The investigation is also extended to multi-story SPSWs. Three example six-story SPSWs are evaluated using the Rosenblueth's 2K+1 point estimation method which is identified to be most efficient from the simulation on two-story SPSWs. Moreover, the effectiveness of the column minimum moment of inertia required in the current code for achieving infill plate yielding at every story of SPSWs is evaluated.