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Coupled Systems Mechanics
  Volume 2, Number 4, December 2013, pages 329-348

Seismic interactions between suspended ceilings and nonstructural partition walls
Wen-Chun Huang, Ghyslaine McClurea and Nahidah Hussainzadab

    This study aims at observing the coupling behaviours between suspended ceilings and partition walls in terms of their global seismic performance using full-scale shake table tests. The suspended ceilings with planar dimensions of 6.0 m Χ 3.6 m were tested with two types of panels: acoustic lay-in and metal clip-on panels. They were further categorized as seismic-braced, seismic-unbraced, and non-seismic installations. Also, two configurations of 2.7 m high partition wall specimens, with C-shape and I-shape in the plane layouts, were tested. In total, seven ceiling-partition-coupling (CPC) specimens were tested utilizing a unidirectional seismic simulator. The test results indicate that the damage patterns of the tested CPC systems included failure of the ceiling grids, shearing-off of the wall top railing, and, most destructively, numerous partial detachments and falling of the ceiling panels. The loss of panels was mostly concentrated near the center of the tested partition wall. The testing results also confirmed that the failure mode of the non-seismic CPC systems was brittle: The whole system would collapse suddenly all at once when the magnitude of the inputs hit the capacity threshold, rather than displaying progressive damage. Overall, the seismic capacity of the unbraced and braced CPC systems could be up to 1.23 g and 2.67 g, respectively; these accelerations were both achieved at the base of the partition wall. Nonetheless, for practical applications, it is noteworthy that the three-dimensional nature of seismic excitations and the size effect of the ceiling area are parameters that exacerbate the CPC's seismic response so that their actual capacity may be dramatically decreased, leading to important losses even in moderate seismic events.
Key Words
    suspended ceiling systems; partition walls; seismic performance; operational and functional components; shake table tests; nonstructural components; OFC
Department of Civil Engineering and Applied Mechanics, McGill University,817 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, Quebec H3A 0C3, Canada

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