In-Plane Behaviour of Unreinforced Masonry Strengthened with a Structural Glass Window: A Proof of Concept

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Innovative solutions for seismic-retrofitting existing structures are currently required, as often traditional strategies are expensive, non-reversible, highly invasive, and/or fail to address both serviceability and ultimate limit states together. The present paper describes a preliminary experimental campaign performed at TU Delft to investigate an innovative structural glass window for strengthening masonry buildings. To this purpose, a prototype composed of a timber frame, a semi-rigid adhesive, and a 20 mm thick structural glazing layer was designed. The prototype aimed to improve the structure’s behavior against minor but more frequent service vibrations (SLS), as well as against ultimate ones (ULS). Specifically, an increase in the structure’s in-plane capacity and stiffness was targeted to reduce cracking at low drifts/displacements, while at larger drifts, the adhesive’s tearing and timber crushing were used to activate damping. To evaluate the prototype’s performance, a quasi-static, cyclic, in-plane test on a strengthened full-scale wall was performed and compared with available data on a similar, yet unstrengthened, wall. Although the benefits were not pronounced in terms of cracking and energy dissipation, the implementation of the proposed strategy provided an increase in terms of initial stiffness (18%), force capacity (8%, 36%), and ductility (220%, 135%). This outcome provides the ground for numerical studies that will help better delineate the proposed strategy and improve the current design.
Original languageEnglish
Article number361
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • unreinforced masonry (URM)
  • in-plane
  • strengthening
  • structural glass


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