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Project Brief: University of California

NIST Measurement Science and Engineering Research Grants


Develop innovative methodologies and improved design requirements for the seismic resistance design of shear walls in reinforced masonry buildings, and reliable analytical tools for assessing their seismic performance, in efforts to enhance the cost-effectiveness and performance of these structures.

RECIPIENT: University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA

  • Project duration: 3 Years
  • Total NIST Funding: $1,499,366
Current design methods and code requirements for shear walls in reinforced masonry buildings are occasionally impractical, especially for commonly encountered low-rise buildings that have walls with many openings. Some of the prescriptive requirements for these walls have not been fully substantiated with experimental research. The requirements may demand ductility where it is not needed and may result in insufficient ductility where it is actually needed. Experimental data on the non-linear behavior of reinforced masonry shear walls is very limited, and it does not cover the wide range of possible design parameter values. To address this, the research project will develop and validate an innovative displacement-based design methodology for masonry shear walls. The research will produce much-needed experimental data to improve design requirements, as well as analytical tools that are essential for a reliable assessment of the seismic performance of these walls.

Public contact (for project information):

Rex Graham, 858-534-5952
ragraham [at] (ragraham[at]ucsd[dot]edu)

rferrier [at]

NIST Program Office Contact:

Jason Boehm, 301-975-8678Jason.boehm [at] (

Created January 20, 2010, Updated September 9, 2021