Effect of Wetting on Performance of Small-Scale Shear Walls


  • David T. King
  • Arijit Sinha
  • Jeffrey J. Morrell


Wood shear walls are the main lateral force-resisting system for wood-frame construction. Water intrusion and subsequent decay around connections can significantly impact shear wall behavior, but these problems are seldom studied. In this study, effects of water intrusion and fungal attack on shear wall capacity were examined using small-scale (610- _ 610-mm) shear walls that were monitored with time using destructive monotonic tests. Results were compared with tests of dry and water control samples. Although fungal colonization was not successful under the conditions tested, wetting (with or without fungal inoculation) produced interesting effects on shear wall capacity. Wetting alone initially increased shear wall capacity, possibly because of fastener corrosion. Observations and digital image correlation data suggest that tensile forces in the uplift corner of the shear walls governed failure modes, which were primarily nail withdrawal, nail pull-through, flake debonding, and cross-grain tension. Wetting affected rigidity of oriented strandboard and led to more frequent nail pull-through. Although failure loads did not differ between the groups, failure modes and displacement at maximum load suggested decreased performance of wetted shear walls. The results suggest that slight amounts (8% overall) of wetting do not negatively affect shear wall performance. However, the effects of prolonged wetting on capacity merit further study.






Research Contributions