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Influence of Fire on the Seismic Shear Capacity of Cold-Formed Steel Shear Walls



Blanca Andres Valiente, Matthew Hoehler


Lightweight construction using cold-formed steel (CFS) stud represent roughly 20 % of the multi-story nonresidential building market in the United States. During an earthquake, these buildings rely on the performance of their lateral force-resisting system (LFRS). While there is extensive information about the structural and fire performance of cold-formed steel construction, there is scarce knowledge about the performance CFS-LFRS under combined multi- hazards, such as mechanical and fire loading. Initial tests on earthquake-damaged steel- sheathed CFS shear walls under natural fire load showed a change in failure mode from local to global buckling and highlighted the significance of the response of the gypsum on the overall fire and load-bearing behavior. A second phase of the project extends the study to multiple levels of fire loading and two additional CFS-LFRSs: (1) Oriented Strand Board (OSB) shear panels, and (2) steel-strap braced CFS walls. Walls are tested under combined mechanical and thermal loading. The mechanical loading setup nominally follows ASTM E2126 and the fire load is provided by a natural gas diffusion burner located in a compartment placed next to the wall. Tests are performed at ambient conditions and under three different fire loads representing (1) the ASTM E119 standard fire, (2) a severe natural fire, and (3) a mild natural fire. Results from this study are intended to provide data for a range of system performance under realistic conditions and will inform fire compartmentation design when significant lateral deformation of the building is anticipated, post-fire assessment to repair or replace a structure, as well as first responder decisions to enter a building when earthquake aftershocks are likely.
Proceedings Title
Eleventh U.S. National Conference on Earthquake Engineering
Conference Dates
June 25-29, 2018
Conference Location
Los Angeles, CA, US


cold-formed steel, shear wall, lateral force-resisting systems, fire, earthquake, fire following earthquake, structure-fire interaction


Andres Valiente, B. and Hoehler, M. (2018), Influence of Fire on the Seismic Shear Capacity of Cold-Formed Steel Shear Walls, Eleventh U.S. National Conference on Earthquake Engineering, Los Angeles, CA, US, [online], (Accessed April 21, 2024)
Created June 24, 2018, Updated October 12, 2021