Date of Award

Spring 2000

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Faherty, Keith F.

Second Advisor

Vinnakota, Sriramulu

Third Advisor

Wenzel, Thomas H.


A method of distributing static forces through wood shear walls, called Diekmann's Method, was used to design nominal 8-foot high and 12-foot and 8-foot long shear walls with window size openings. The shear walls were built and load tested in the Haggerty Hall Structures Laboratory at Marquette University. Diekmann's Method has two cases. Case 1 assumes sheathing provides resistance to shear forces, shear forces are uniformly distributed along the length of sheathing, shear wall rigidity is linearly proportional to length, and only framing provides bending resistance. An additional assumption for Case 2 is that inflection points occur in panels adjacent to an opening at the mid-height of the opening. Equations of statics are used to distribute an applied load through a wall. The resulting sheathing-edge forces are designed to be resisted by sheathing-edge nails. When Diekmann's Method Case 2 was used in load tests of twelve 12-foot long walls, the ultimate load analysis showed the results obtained were not those expected. Additionally, the walls did not appear to deform in the assumed double curvature shape. On the other hand, the ultimate loads for eight of the nine walls with openings exceeded those for the three walls with no openings. All aspects of the testing program were evaluated and were the basis for testing twenty-one 8-foot long walls. The 8-foot walls utilized Case 1 and were evaluated using the design load. These load tests showed that undesigned headers contribute to shear wall stiffness, full height panels have the potential to resist fractions of a laterally applied load, and panels below openings resist shear forces. The method and load test data are useful to design and manufacture wood shear walls.



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