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RE: Masonry infill walls

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As a starting point, check out an article in the Journal of Structural
Engineering, Volume 123, No. 10, October 1997 titled:

Modeling of Masonry Infill Panels for Structural Analysis by A. Madan, A.M.
Reinhorn, J.B. Mander and R.E. Valles

I would not count on any structural strength from the terra cotta infill
walls.  I've investigated and repaired several terra cotta walls in NYC when
the builder thought he was using a structural material ... and they were
wrong.  My experience tells me that terra cotta is a decorative facade
material that must be made for the kind of weather it will be exposed to or
it will fail.  Likewise, terra cotta is excellent for partition walls which
will be plastered and will hold up well under its own weight as long as
other structural loads are not imposed on it. Beware of running plumbing
and/or HVAC stuff in a terra cotta wall.

William J. Keil, P.E.

-----Original Message-----
From: Scott Maxwell [mailto:smaxwell(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Wednesday, February 02, 2000 4:53 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Masonry infill walls

A question about masonry infill walls...

Can any one recommend a fairly simple method for determining the effects of
masonry infill walls on the lateral systems when evaluating an existing
building for seismic loadings?  

The masonry walls that I am looking at are either CMU walls that are not
for a full bay but are up tight to the underside of the structure above OR
terra cotta walls that are for a full bay and are up tight to the structure
above.  In both cases, the buildings' lateral system would appear to be
moment frames.

Any thoughts or suggested references would be greatly appreciated.