Developing FEM procedures for four-sided structural sealant Glazing curtain wall systems with reentrant corners

Ali M. Memari, Nicholas Simmons, Ryan L. Solnosky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In the cyclic racking evaluation of curtain wall systems, physical testing with instrumentation is the standard method for collecting performance data by most design professionals. The resulting testing of full-scale mockups can provide many types of data, including load and dis-placement values at different stages of loading through failure. While this type of data is valuable for product/system development/fabrication and design, such data can also provide a means for simulation validation of the curtain wall cyclic performance under simulated earthquake loading. Once the simulation study is validated using the test results, then parametric studies by designers can be conducted with greater ease, ideally with commercial software packages, without the need for testing. For the results of this research study, a practical industry formulated finite element modeling (FEM) approach was used to predict the performance of the curtain wall mockups. Here, unitized four-sided structural sealant glazing (4SSG) curtain wall system mockups that incorporate a re-entrant corner were subjected to cyclic racking displacements per the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) 501.6 Structural Sealant protocol. System performances, including displacements, were obtained from the FEM study and used to calculate the effective shear strain of the structural silicone and the drift capacity of the system. This paper describes the details of the techniques developed for FEM, the analysis results, and shows an example application of the numerical modeling approach for mockups with racking test results available. The goal of this modeling approach was to create and test methods that practicing consulting engineers can quickly conduct in their offices on common commercially available software often available to them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number597
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Architecture
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction


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