Abstract
The paper investigates the inplane performance of horizontal precast reinforced concrete cladding panels, typically adopted in onestorey precast industrial and commercial buildings. Starting from infield observations of cladding panels failures in recent earthquakes, the seismic performance of typical connections is evaluated by means of experimental tests on fullscale panels under quasistatic cyclic loading. The failure mechanisms highlight the vulnerability of such connections to relative displacements and, therefore, the need to accurately evaluate the connections displacement demand and capacity. An analytical model is developed to describe the force–displacement relationship of the considered connections and compared to the experimental results. In order to determine the seismic vulnerability of such connections and provide design recommendations, linear and nonlinear analyses are conducted taking as reference a precast concrete structure resembling an industrial precast building. The results of the analyses show the importance of a correct estimation of the column’s lateral stiffness in the design process and how an improper erection procedure leads to a premature failure of such connections.
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Notes
Record codes of the considered earthquakes according to Ambraseys et al. (2004): 0034xa, 0050x, 0051xa, 0084ya, 0120ya, 0146ya, 0212ya, 0306ya, 0317xa, 0322ya, 0333ya, 0335ya, 0341ya, 0343ya, 0385ya, 0388ya, 0389xa, 0390xa, 0393ya, 0412ya, 0421xa, 0437ya, 0438xa, 0438ya, 0442xa, 0443xa, 0444ya, 0451xa, 0457ya, 0461ya.
Abbreviations
 BCx:

Bottom connection x
 DBE:

Design basis earthquake
 DSxy:

Damage state x for PCSy
 PCSx:

Panel to column subassembly x
 PGA:

Peak ground acceleration
 S1:

Spring representing the slotted plate flexural behaviour (TC)
 S2:

Spring representing the anchor channel flexural behaviour (TC)
 SLS:

Serviceability limit state
 TCx:

Top connection x
 b _{ eq } :

Depth of equivalent cantilever beam representing anchor channel lip
 d :

Distance represented in Fig. 8a
 e :

Distance represented in Fig. 8a
 E :

Young modulus of steel
 EI _{ b } :

Flexural stiffness of the TC bolt
 EI _{ sl } :

Flexural stiffness of the TC slotted plate
 F :

Force resultant on channel lip due to distributed load p (Fig. 8)
 F _{ frict,x } :

Friction force of connection x
 f _{ u } :

Ultimate stress
 gap _{ x } :

Horizontal gap (Fig. 7) in the x connection (TC or BC)
 gap _{ v } :

Clear length between the panel and the column (Fig. 7)
 G :

Steel shear modulus
 h :

Anchor channel depth (Fig. 8)
 i :

Anchor bolt head thickness (Fig. 8)
 k _{ θ,x } :

Elastic stiffness of connection x
 L _{ b } :

Clear length of the TC connecting bolt (Fig. 7)
 L _{ sl } :

Length of the TC slotted plate
 μ _{ x } :

Coefficient of friction of connection x
 m _{ i } :

Mass participation factor of mode ith
 M _{ u,x } :

Ultimate flexural capacity of connection x
 M _{ y,x } :

Yield flexural capacity of connection x
 N _{ BC } :

Vertical load acting on bottom connection
 P :

Cumulative probability of exceedance
 p :

Distributed load on anchor channel lips (Fig. 8)
 s :

Anchor channel thickness (Fig. 8)
 t :

Anchor channel lip length (Fig. 8)
 T _{ i } :

Period of vibration of mode ith
 V :

Lateral load acting on the connection
 Δ_{ eq } :

Anchor channel lip displacement neglecting the contribution of anchor channel side rotation
 Δ_{ tot } :

Anchor channel lip displacement including the contribution of anchor channel side rotation
 θ _{ Sx } :

Rotation of spring Sx
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Acknowledgments
The authors wish to express their gratitude to Assobeton (Italy) for financing the experimental campaign. The opinions, findings, and conclusions expressed in the paper are those of the authors. The careful review and constructive suggestions by the anonymous reviewers are gratefully acknowledged.
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Appendices
Appendix 1: Derivation of Eq. 1
According to the yield line theory, adopting the yield line pattern shown in Fig. 8c and α equal to 45°, the work (W _{ ext }) done by the external load (Fig. 8b) is:
where θ is the imposed rotation of the plate around yield line 2 (YL_{2}).
The internal work (W _{ int }) is:
Equating the external and internal work leads to:
Appendix 2: Derivation of Eq. 3
The lateral deflection Δ of a cantilever beam with uniform cross section and length t under a uniform distributed load p is:
By evaluating the previous equation for x = t and by considering a rectangular cross section b _{ eq } × s with a shear area A _{ s } = 5/6 A, it yields:
Appendix 3: Derivation of Eq. 4
Considering the vertical side of the channel (Fig. 8) as a cantilever with height equal to h and subjected to a tip moment equal to F · t/2, the tip rotation is:
This rotation leads to an additional channel lip deflection equal to:
Therefore the total displacement is:
Appendix 4: Mechanical properties of considered connections
Table 4 contains the data used to define the top connection hysteretic behaviour. The application of the proposed analytical formulation leads to the values summarized in Table 5. The lateral force–displacement relationship of the bottom connections is directly evaluated considering the bolt flexibility for BC1 (ϕ _{ b } 24 mm; L _{ b } = 50 mm; f _{ u } = 640 MPa) and the flexural stiffness of the tapered steel plate for BC2, modelled as a triangular element with edges 100 mm × 130 mm and thickness 20 mm, f _{ u } = 350 MPa.
The top and bottom connections are simulated in the FE models by one or more nonlinear springs acting in parallel: Table 6 summarizes the considered hysteresis models. Table 7 shows the combination of the springs in order to obtain the global behaviour of the considered connections.
In PCS A and PCS B the top connection fails before sliding of the bottom connection, therefore only a spring is provided in BC1. TC1 failure is associated to anchor channel lip. The failure load (11.77 kN) derived from the analytical procedure is lower than recorder during the tests, therefore on the conservative side. Besides this, the numerical investigation was carried out considering the failure load recorded in the tests.
In PCS C/D the top connection develops two plastic hinges at the bolt ends, causing the bolt rotation until contact between the nut and the panel. At this stage, the connection gains stiffness and the lateral load increases until failure of the weakest component: the bolt in shear (27.6 kN according to Eurocode 3). A more accurate description of the connection and bolt behaviour after the contact to the panel could be obtained from refined tridimensional finite element models.
The friction load associated to sliding of TC1, TC2 and BC2 is taken directly from the test results.
Appendix 5: Equivalent stiffness
In this section, the equivalent stiffness of the casestudy column is evaluated.
Based on the data of Table 8 the flexural stiffness at yield is:
The stiffness reduction factor is the ratio between the flexural stiffness at yield and the gross stiffness:
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Belleri, A., Torquati, M., Marini, A. et al. Horizontal cladding panels: inplane seismic performance in precast concrete buildings. Bull Earthquake Eng 14, 1103–1129 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s1051801598618
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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s1051801598618