Estimation of crack width of non-structural walls using finite-element analysis

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Estimation of crack width of non-structural walls using finite-element analysis

M. Matsubayashi1, Y. Takase2*, M. Mizoguchi2, K. Inoue3


  • In this research, non-structural R/C walls are subjected.
  • Strains of rebar are calculated by 2D finite-element analysis.
  • The results have a good agreement with the force-story angle curves and the maximum principal distributions.
  • Using strain, spacing and diameter of a rebar, the maximum width of a R/C wall is calculated.
  • The crack width of non-structural walls can be reasonably estimated by the proposed method.


After recent earthquakes in Japan, there have been a number of reports of damage to non-structural walls in reinforced concrete buildings, which causes problems for their continued use. Thus, it is important to consider not only a structural strength but also its damages in design. According to previous studies, the widths of cracks in beams or walls can be estimated by using the maximum strains of reinforcing bars (rebar). Typically, the strain measured through experiments is used for this estimation. However, it is desired to have a method that can make such estimates without requiring experimental data, in order to design structures more easily. Most previous researches have focused on structural members. Therefore, this study proposes an estimation method for the maximum shear crack width that can be applied to a non-structural wall and uses the strain of a rebar acquired from analysis. Firstly, we conducted the tests of two R/C walls and searched the two test results of non-structural walls in the previous paper. We subsequently analyzed these four specimens with differences between rebar ratio and shear span ratio by 2D finite-element analysis. From the initial analysis, the estimation equation of crack width was proposed. Finally, this proposed method was verified for adaptability of the test results. The results show clearly that the proposed method can reasonably estimate maximum crack widths. However, it was concluded that the proposed estimation method is useful for evaluating damages of R/C non-structural walls. The additional verification is required due to the shortage of test specimens of this study.

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To cite this article: Matsubayashi M, Takase Y, Mizoguchi M, Inoue K. Estimation of crack width of non-structural walls using finite-element analysis. Journal of Advanced Civil Engineering Practice and Research 2018;6:18-25.

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