Research Articles | Challenge Journal of Structural Mechanics

Structural evaluation of unitized curtain wall systems by using inter-story drift test

Selcuk Dogru, Ferit Cakir, Bulent Akbas



A curtain wall enhances the aesthetic appeal of a building and protects it from harmful environmental conditions. As one of the most significant façade curtain walls, Unitized Curtain Wall Systems (UCWS) are constructed concurrently with the construction of the structural framing system. Because of their lightness, ease of application, functionality, and various design possibilities, UCWSs are frequently used as exterior panels on high-rise buildings. UCWSs must be designed to resist external loads such as wind and seismic load during their lifetime. A structural performance evaluation of the UCWSs is therefore one of the most important criteria for their design. American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) suggests conducting a full-scale test on a mock-up to determine the structural performance in accordance with AAMA 501.4. In this study, an inter-story drift test was performed according to the AAMA 501.4 standard on a two-story UCWS system, comprised of six panels 1430.8 mm wide and 4215 mm high. The structural behavior of the system was assessed using horizontal and vertical displacement meters that were placed at various points in the system. In addition, a simplified numerical model of the system was prepared and experimental studies were supported by finite element analysis.


unitized curtain wall systems; inter-story drift test; structural performance assessment; full-scale mock-up test; finite element analysis

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