Open Access
Simmons, Nicholas C
Graduate Program:
Architectural Engineering
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
November 09, 2011
Committee Members:
  • Dr Memari, Thesis Advisor
  • Ali M Memari, Thesis Advisor
  • Andres Lepage, Thesis Advisor
  • Carlo G Pantano, Thesis Advisor
  • Stick-built-with-vertical-slip
  • Unitized-sway
  • Coach 6
  • CMA
  • point tracking
  • video analysis
  • SAP2000
  • FEM
  • Physical testing
  • Curtain wall
  • Glazing
  • Structural Silicone
  • Stick-built
  • Racking
  • AAMA 501.6
  • seismic
The focus of this research, which is part of a project involving full scale experimental testing and analytical modeling of four-sided structural silicone glazing (4SSG) curtain wall system is the analytical part of the project. The main objective of the research presented was to develop finite element modeling (FEM) techniques and closed-form kinematic equations to describe the seismic behavior of a 4SSG curtain wall system. The computer software SAP2000 was used for the FEM. Most of the previous experimental seismic testing of curtain wall systems did not incorporate a FEM for comparison. The FEM technique employed was developed with models of the curtain wall systems used in previous experiments and then calibrated based on existing test results. Once the FEM modeling technique was validated, it was then applied to a curtain wall system featuring a re-entrant corner that was tested during the course of the study as the experimental part of the project. The boundary conditions tested are referred to as unitized sway, stick-built-with-vertical-slip, and stick-built. The analytical focus of this thesis was on the stick-built-with-vertical-slip and stick-built boundary conditions. The experimental part of the project consisted of physical full-scale racking testing of three 4SSG mockups based on AAMA 501.6 loading protocol. Each mockup had the same size and geometry and was first tested for the unitized sway condition. Then modifications were made to vary how the mockup panels would be attached to each other and/or how the mockups would be attached to the testing facility. The experimental test data and videos recorded during the test, served to verify or improve the FEM results. The details of the FEM modeling results obtained from the experimental part of the project and videos of the performance of the mockups were then used to develop closed-form kinematic equations that describe the drift capacity of the system.