Derivation of kinematic equations based on full-scale racking tests for seismic performance evaluation of unitized four-sided structural sealant glazing curtain wall systems

Ali M. Memari, Nicholas Simmons, Ryan L. Solnosky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Curtain wall glazing systems are a major part of a building due to the multiple roles they have, including occupant protection against environmental effects and the transfer of loads to the structural system. From a structural perspective, limited analytical guidelines and methods exist to aid designers in their determination of the curtain wall performance without extensive simulation or laboratory testing. This study takes experimental data from full-scale, “unitized”, four-sided structural sealant glazing (4SSG) curtain wall system mockups featuring a re-entrant corner subjected to cyclic racking displacements in accordance with the American Architectural Manufacturers Association AAMA 501.6 protocol to derive and establish equations that predict the relative displacements of the glass relative to the glazing frame, based on the amount of inter-story drift. Through derivation and testing, sealant cohesive failure and glass cracking were identified as limit states and corresponding drift levels were determined to control many of the equations. Displacements from the newly derived equations were correlated to the effective shear strain value experi-enced by the structural silicone in the mockup concurrently with the curtain wall’s drift capacity. This paper provides detailed derivation of the kinematic equations for possible use by glazing design professionals. Such equations can help designers to more easily predict the drifts that cause damage to such systems by manual calculations without the need for expensive mockup testing or time-intensive computer models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number593
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Architecture
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction

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