Challenging Glass 3 – Conference on Architectural and Structural Applications of Glass

,
Bos, Louter, Nijsse, Veer (Eds.), TU Delft, June 2012.
Copyright © with the authors. All rights reserved.
Seismic Behavior of Point Supported Glass
Panels
Luís Martins, Raimundo Delgado
Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto, Portugal, www.fe.up.pt
Rui Camposinhos
Scholl of Engineering Polytechnic of Porto, Portugal, www.isep.ipp.pt
Tiago Silva
FACAL - Façade Engineering, Portugal, www.facal.pt
Due to its transparency today’s architectures often rely on glazed façade solutions
to execute the building envelope. During a seismic event, glass brakeage and fall
out can occur and threaten occupants and passers. So in earthquake prone regions
this must be accounted in the design project; however, there is little research on the
behaviour of glazed façades under seismic loads. This papers focus on the results of
a project under development to ascertain right well dimensioned and adequate
solutions to glass facades using point fixing systems under seismic or wind actions.
Numerical analyses were performed, using finite element commercial software, the
results are compared with simplified methods and conclusion are drawn.
Keywords: spider glass, glass façade seismic behaviour, curtain wall glass façade
1. Introduction

Recent developments in science and technology allowed glass to be used in several
structural demanding applications such as façades, roofs, girders and columns, etc.
Due to glass’ brittle behaviour this calls for more refined analysis methods and greater
design detailing to ensure structural stability and safety.
Currently modern facade buildings rely on glazed curtain wall systems. These systems
include either singular aluminum alloy frame glass curtain walls or frameless glass
curtain walls. This is the case of the so called spider fixing systems, which are pointed
supported.
Although there are some research on the behaviour of glass panels under out-of-plane
loads, e.g., wind loads, the same is not factual in the in-plane loads behaviour, for
instances in what seismic actions are concerned.
In fact, seismic action brings out specific problems to designers, due to the lack of, at
least well-known, international rules or regulations about this problem.
The scope of this paper is to present the relevant aspects of the seismic loading in point
fixed glass panels. Firstly a simplified method based upon the elastic response spectrum
is introduced, then the results of a time history dynamic analyses are presented.

Challenging Glass 3
2. Seismic design of glass façades
Earthquakes cause damage to the building main structure as well as to the non-structural
components. Falling façade fragments during an earthquake poses a serious hazard to
pedestrians and occupants as well, so in earthquake prone regions its must be accounted
in the design.
Sucuoǧlu and Vallabhan refer broken window glass as the second most serious non-
structural damage, for example in the 1985 Mexico City earthquake over 50% of the
263 office observed buildings had experienced some sort of glass breakage [1].
During an earthquake two types of lateral loads are considered acting in the façade
panels: the “in plane” loads and the “out of plane” loads. Both inertial loads are caused
by the horizontal displacements of the building’s floors, yet the in-plane actions causes,
mainly shear stresses, and the others give rise to extra inertial forces due to the panel’s
bending.
The frequency content of the dynamic loads transmitted to the panels is modulated by
the building natural frequency, so if it happens that it has a value very close to the
panel’s natural frequency, resonant effects occur with an agonisingly increase of the
dynamic response, a well-known phenomena that must be avoided, otherwise structural
safety may be compromised.
As there are no design regulations for determine seismic loads in glass façades, a
laboratory test procedure according the American Architectural Manufacturers
Association recommendations [2, 3] is followed in order to evaluate the maximum
seismic drift which may cause glass brakeage and fall out of framed glass panels.
The dynamic test procedures considers a sinusoidal drift history for the procedure
testing with growing amplitudes to a maximum of 150 millimetres (Figure 1). This test
method has been applied in previous studies, like (Memari et al) [4], and is going to be
used to assess the seismic behaviour of point fixed glass panels in the Seismic
Laboratory of the University of Porto Engineering faculty.


Figure 1: Schematic of displacement time history for dynamic crescendo test [2].

Seismic Behavior of Point Supported Glass Panels
3. Simplified method to assess the seismic forces
The simplified method to assess the seismic forces transmitted to the façade panels, was
adapted by Camposinhos [5] from the work of Singh [6, 7], and is based on the response
spectra of Eurocode 8 (EC8) [8]. Figure 2 presents the elastic response spectrum
adopted in this work.


Figure 2: Response spectrum [8].

Thus the dynamic load transmitted to the façade panels (equation 1) depends on the
building’s natural vibration period and on the panel’s mass and natural vibration period.
E
E E DS fZ
Ek
R
M S C
F
× γ × × ×
=
40 . 0
(1)
where,
F
Ek
characteristic seismic force;
C
fZ
seismic coefficient of the panel (depends on the building dynamic
characteristics and the position on the panel in the building);
S
DS
ground acceleration value;
γ
E
importance coefficients of the panel (ranging between 1.0 and 1.5);
M
E
panel’s mass;
R
E
coefficient of performance of the panel (ranging between 1.5 and 3.5).
Prior to the application of the simplified method a parametric analysis was made to
evaluate the variation of seismic coefficient C
fZ
with the dynamic properties of the panel
and its position or height in the building. Two different cases were studied: in the first
case the panel is assumed to be in the last floor (m=N), and in the second, the panel was
assumed to be in placed at the penultimate floor (m=N-1). Figure 3 and Figure 4
presents the variation of C
fz
with the natural period of vibration of the building for
different values of the natural period of vibration for the glass panel.

0
2
4
6
8
10
0 1 2 3 4
S
a

(
m
/
s
2
)
T (s)
Response spectrum (Seismic action type II; soil type D; seismic
region 2.1; η=1.0)
Sa
Challenging Glass 3

Figure 3: Variation of Cfz (m=N).


Figure 4: Variation of Cfz (m=N-1).

The results (Figure 3 and Figure 4) shows a very significant resonant effect for low
periods and a comparison between them allow to conclude that a panel in the last floor
corresponds to the most severe situation in what seismic excitation concern, with values
about 40% higher, once the coefficient, C
fZ
is directly correlated with the maximum
seismic force acting in the panel.

4. Case study
4.1. Field application
The search for technical innovative solutions in glass façades, namely looking for the
development and easy installing thinner and lighter glazing without compromising
safety is one of the main purpose of the FACAL – Façade Engineering Lda.
Facal is well known by the execution of famous facade glazings such as the glass
system in Casa da Música in Oporto, the double skin façade Torre H in Lisbon, the
glazing of the Spanish Pavilion in the International Fair in Zaragoza or the glass roof of
0
20
40
60
80
100
0 1 2 3 4
C
f
Z
T(s)
Variation of C
fZ
(m=N; ξ=5%)
Tpanel=0.05s Tpanel=0.2s Tpanel=0.4s
Tpanel=0.6s Tpanel=0.8s Tpanel=1s
0
20
40
60
80
0 1 2 3 4
C
f
Z
T (s)
Variation of C
fZ
(m=N-1; ξ=5%)
Tpanel=0.05s Tpanel=0.2s Tpanel=0.4s
Tpanel=0.6s Tpanel=0.8s Tpanel=1s
Seismic Behavior of Point Supported Glass Panels
the Metro Station at Sá Carneiro Airport in Porto, FACAL always achieves the
resolution of the concept.


Figure 5: Examples - Torre H; Casa da Música; Spanish Pavilion; Metro Station.

Pursuiting new and innovative construction solutions a partnership study have been
develloped with Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto in order to analyze
the behavior of different solutions of point supported glass panels systems under
seismic loads.
On the basis of this work is the newly-built office building of Bouygues Imobiliária in
Lisbon. A particular attention was given to the safety requirements of a 20 meters high
point-supported glass façade over the main entrance of the building. The post-breakage
behaviour of the laminated safety glass panels is the primary concern. This is often
neglected problem in glass façades yet of greater importance since Lisbon as many
other metropolis is prone to seismic activity.
A crucial concern on this matter is essential: The integrity of the glass façade must be
preserved and assured that there’s no risk of glass fragments fallings.
Among the various enhancement solutions the use of laminated safety glass with the
DuPont interlayer SentryGlas® provides an optimal behaviour due to its excellent post-
breakage performance with the glass fragments remaining adhered to the interlayer,
without falling down.


Figure 6: Point-supported glass façade - office building of Bouygues Imobiliária in Lisbon.

Challenging Glass 3
4.2. Geometrical and mechanical properties
This paper focus on a set of five point supported
specimens have a surface of 2350x2300 m
interlayer and distance from edges to holes (
Figure 7: Geometrical configuration of the glass panels: left) V1 and V2; right) V3, V4 and V5 (Drawings by:
FACAL).
The panels identified as V1, V2, V3 and
glass and a 1.52mm thick interlayer together with a
is made from two 12mm tempered glass sheets.
Panels V1 and V3 have a SentryGlass® film
interlayer. Furthermore a panel with the same geometrical configuration
but with SentryGlass® interlayer film was additional considered
The properties of the the PVB’s Young modulus
10], so in the panels with this type of interlayer
were considered: (i) 3.2MPa, (ii) 9.0 MPa
SentryGlas® a the value of 300 MPa was adopted for its Young modulus, as suggested
by Delincé [10].
Table 1summarises the relevant data for the

Table 1: Test specimen’s description
Glass
panel
Dimensions
[mm]
Total
thickness
[mm]
Interlayer
film
V1 2350x2300 10+1.52+8 SentryGlas®
V2(i) 2350x2300 10+1.52+8 PVB
V2(ii) 2350x2300 10+1.52+8 PVB
V2(iii) 2350x2300 10+1.52+8 PVB
V3 2350x2300 10+1.52+8 SentryGlas®
V4(i) 2350x2300 10+1.52+8 PVB
V4(ii) 2350x2300 10+1.52+8 PVB
Challenging Glass 3
Geometrical and mechanical properties
point supported laminated glass panels. All the
mm
2
differing on the glass thicknesses, the
(Figure 7).

panels: left) V1 and V2; right) V3, V4 and V5 (Drawings by:
FACAL).
V4 are obtained from 10 mm strengthened
together with a 8mm also tempered glass.Panel V5
sheets.
anels V1 and V3 have a SentryGlass® film while the remaining panels have PVB
panel with the same geometrical configuration of that of V5
additional considered in the analyses.
the PVB’s Young modulus ranges from 3.2 MPa to 18 MPa [9,
interlayer three different values for this parameter
(i) 3.2MPa, (ii) 9.0 MPa and (iii) 18.0 MPa. In the case of
SentryGlas® a the value of 300 MPa was adopted for its Young modulus, as suggested
the studied glass panels.
Test specimen’s description.
Interlayer
film
Interlayer’s
Young
modulus
[MPa]
Glass’
Young
modulus
[GPa]
Glass’
Poisson
coefficient
SentryGlas® 300 70 0.20
PVB 3.2 70 0.20
PVB 9.0 70 0.20
PVB 18.0 70 0.20
SentryGlas® 300 70 0.20
PVB 3.2 70 0.20
PVB 9.0 70 0.20
Seismic Behavior of Point Supported Glass Panels
V4(iii) 2350x2300 10+1.52+8 PVB 18.0 70 0.20
V5(i) 2350x2300 12+1.52+12 PVB 3.2 70 0.20
V5(ii) 2350x2300 12+1.52+12 PVB 9.0 70 0.20
V5(iii) 2350x2300 12+1.52+12 PVB 18.0 70 0.20
V5(iv) 2350x2300 12+1.52+12 SentryGlas® 300 70 0.20

4.3. FE model
To evaluate the structural response of the glass panels a set of numerical models were
made using commercial finite element (FE) software.
The glass panels and interlayer film were modelled with 8-node 3D finite elements. In
the interior of the panel the maximum size of the finite elements was limited to 2
centimetres, while near the supports the maximum size was reduced to half to attend the
stress concentrations near the holes to take in account the expected stress concentrations
in this regions.


Figure 8: FE mesh details - a) lateral view; b) interior of the panel; c) support region.

The degrees of Freedom (DOF) restrictions which enabled this stress concentration near
the support region and the brittle nature glass leads to a several numerical model
simulations stages until a solution that that correctly represent the real support condition
was achieved.
To assess the behaviour of the model two premises were advanced: (i) the allowance for
rotations of the panel acording the real behaviour; (ii) Stress distribution around the hole
should be compatible with reality.
The best solution lead to the implementation of an external node where the support
constraints are included. The connection to the panel was provided throughout rigid
pseudo beam elements (Figure 9).

Challenging Glass 3

Figure 9: Lateral view of the support solution.

5. Results
5.1. Simplified method
The natural frequencies of the glass panels were determined using the FE model and are
depicted in (Table 2),
The already mentioned simplified method was applied to assess the maximum seismic
effect on the façade panel and the results are presented in Figure 10.

Table 2: Glass panels natural frequency.
Glass panel Natural frequency (Hz)
V1 13.4
V2(i) 10.3
V2(ii) 11.5
V2(iii) 12.2
V3 8.1
V4(i) 6.4
V4(ii) 7.1
V4(iii) 7.5
V5(i) 8.0
V5(ii) 9.0
V5(iii) 9.5
V5(iv) 10.5

Seismic Behavior of Point Supported Glass Panels

Figure 10: Maximum seismic force transmitted to the glass panels.

As it can be observed, the peak values presented in the figure, nearly 10 times the
panel’s self weight, confirm the expected resonant effects in the panels.

5.2. Time history dynamic analyses
In order to qualitatively assess the results obtained by the simplified method a set of
time history dynamic analyses has been performed, using the El Centro ground motion
record (Figure 11) appropriately scaled so that the maximum spectral acceleration was
equal to the one calculated by EC8.


Figure 11: El Centro ground motion record [11].

To verify the existence of resonant effects in the panel a structure with a natural period
of 0.12 s (very close to the natural period of that of panel V5(i)) was analysed with the
selected ground motion record. The floor accelerations obtained, Figure 12, were then
applied to the façade panel and the corresponding response was gathered, Figure 13.

0
10
20
30
0 1 2
F
E
k

(
k
N
)
Τ (s)
Seismic forces transmited to the façade panels
V1 V2(i) V2(ii) V2(iii) V3 V4(i)
V4(ii) V4(iii) V5(i) V5(ii) V5(iii) V5(iv)
-4
-2
0
2
4
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35
ü
g

(
m
/
s
2
)
Time (s)
El Centro earthquake, May 18
th
1940 (N-S)
Ground acceleration
Challenging Glass 3

Figure 12: Floor accelerations.


Figure 13: Response of the panel V5(i).

The maximum response acceleration of the panel, about 81 m/s
2
, 10 times the peak floor
acceleration, confirms the existence of resonance in the façade panel.
As the simplified method does not consider any damping effects, new dynamic analyses
were made considering the panel’s damping ratio (ξ) ranging from 0% to 5%.
Table 3: Differences in the panel V5(i) response for different damping ratio.
Damping ratio [%] Maximum deflection on the panel [mm]
0 16.7
2 11.8
5 8.58

Table 3 shows that there is a decay of almost 30% in the maximum deflection when a
2% damping ratio was considered.
Thus in buildings with natural vibration frequencies that might induce resonance in the
façade panels an energy dissipation device should be applied to reduce the dynamic
response of the panel.
-10
-5
0
5
10
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35
A
c
c
e
l
e
r
a
t
i
o
n


(
m
/
s
2
)
Time(s)
Floor accelerations
Floor accelerations
-100
-50
0
50
100
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35
A
c
c
e
l
e
r
a
t
i
o
n


(
m
/
s
2
)
Time (s)
Response of the panel V5(i)
Panel acceleration
Seismic Behavior of Point Supported Glass Panels

5.3. Numerical simulation of the test procedure according to AAMA recomendations
Section 2 briefly described a test procedure to assess the maximum seismic drift causing
glass breakage and fallout in framed glass panels. This test procedure was numerically
simulated using the same FE models previously developed to determine the panel’s
dynamic properties.
Due to stress concentrations in the support region, material rupture was reached for a
drift less then10 mm (Figure 14).


Figure 14: Example of results for the AAMA dynamic test.

The low drift level that causes material failure determined by the numerical test lead to
the formulation of the hypothesis that AAMA 501.6 dynamic test aims to determine the
maximum drift that causes panel’s detachment from the support rather than the material
rupture.

6. General conclusions
In a FEM analysis the importance of an adequate modelling of the support conditions in
the point supported glass panels is mandatory in order to control the stress concentration
phenomenon.
The simplified method to determine the seismic forces transmitted to façade panels
seems to be able to capture the relevant aspects of the whole issue regarding resonance
effects as well.
The numerical simulations using time history analysis confirmed the hypothesis of
resonance effects induced by the building’s natural frequency and are in agreement with
the peak values determined by the simplified method.
0
100
200
300
400
500
600
700
800
900
0 5 10 15 20 25
σ
(
M
P
a
)
drift (mm)
Results for the AAMA dynamic test (Panel V1)
Maximum Tension in the support Tension at 5mm from support
Tension at 10 mm from support σf annealed glass
σf heatstrenghtned glass σf tempered glass
Challenging Glass 3
Tests showed up that the problem’s sensibility to damping is relevant. In fact a 2%
damping ratio for the panels lead to a 30% decrease in its maximum deflection.
It must be emphasized that in earthquake prone regions façade panels without energy
dissipation devices could be seriously and dangerously excited into non acceptable
limits.
7. References

[1] Sucuoǧlu, H. and C.V.G. Vallabhan, Behaviour of window glass panels during earthquakes.
Engineering Structures, 1997. 19(8): p. 685-694.
[2] AAMA, AAMA 501.6-09: Recommended dynamic test method for determining the seismic drift causing
glass fallout from a wall system. 2009, AAMA.
[3] AAMA, AAMA 501.4-09: Recommended static testing method for evaluating curtain wall and storefront
systems subjected to seismic and wind induced interstory drift. 2009, AAMA.
[4] Memari, A.M., R.A. Behr, and P.A. Kremer, Seismic behavior of curtain walls containing insulating
glass units. Journal of Architectural Engineering, 2003. 9(2): p. 70-85.
[5] Camposinhos, R.d.S., Revestimentos em pedra natural com fixação mecânica dimensionamento e
projecto. 2009, Porto: Edições Sílabo. 199.
[6] Singh, M.P., et al., Seismic design forces. I: Rigid nonstructural components. Journal of Structural
Engineering, 2006. 132(10): p. 1524-1532.
[7] Singh, M.P., et al., Seismic design forces. II: Flexible nonstructural components. Journal of Structural
Engineering, 2006. 132(10): p. 1533-1542.
[8] CEN, Eurocode 8 - Design of structures for earthquake resistance Part1: General rules, seismic actions
and rules for buildings. 2010, IPQ: Caparica. p. 230.
[9] Chen, J., Q. Zhang, and B. Xie, Nonlinear finite element analysis on laminated glass panel based on
APDL. Computer Aided Engineering, 2010. 19(Copyright 2011, The Institution of Engineering and
Technology): p. 22-6.
[10] Delincé, D., et al. Post-breakage behaviour of laminated glass in structural applications. in Challenging
Glass. 2008.
[11] http://www.vibrationdata.com/elcentro.htm. Access Date: 18/05/2011

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