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Experimental evaluation of the in-plane seismic behavior of store-front window systems


Glass window systems have been shown to suffer significant damage during earthquake loading, resulting in the potential for human injuries and significant economic losses. Film-coated windows are recognized to hold potential for mitigating these adverse affects. However, despite its potential, limited study has been conducted to evaluate the benefits of film-coated window systems under seismic loading. Of those studies undertaken, the focus has been on anchored film, which is less common in practice. Furthermore, no thorough study of the effects of loading histories on window system performance as related to envisioned scenario earthquakes, has been performed to- date. It is unclear if previously used loading protocols are representative of demands induced on window systems used in buildings in the California seismic environment. Finally, previous studies have been limited in terms of their variation of window system geometry, with the largest experimental studies focused on a single 0.83 aspect ratio (height/width) specimen. In this work, three variables of interest were studied through in-plane seismic racking experiments of store-front window systems: (i) loading protocol, (ii) window film type and attachment, and (iii) aspect ratio. The baseline window system was a 5'x5' unit, constructed of 1/4" annealed single pane glass supported by an aluminum frame, with detailing typical of mid-rise (store-front) window systems. This thesis presents the overall experimental program, the identified damage modes and associated drift limits, and trends associated with variation of the aforementioned test variables.

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